ENFIELD, Maine — An unidentified man was in critical condition at a Bangor hospital on Sunday after he and a woman killed at the scene were thrown from their car after it rounded a sharp curve on Route 188, investigators said.
The man was flown by LifeFlight helicopter from Penobscot Valley Hospital in Lincoln to Eastern Maine Medical Center immediately following the accident, which occurred at around 5:30 p.m. Saturday. The woman was pronounced dead at the scene, Penobscot County Sheriffs Department Sgt. Roy Peary said.
Investigators from the sheriffs department and a state police accident reconstruction team continued to work Sunday on the accident and the events leading to it, Peary said. They spent most of Saturday night poring over the scene in the front yard at 107 Route 188, also known as Lowell Road, where the Mercury Cougar came to rest.
A resident at 98 Lowell Road, John Curtis, said he was inside when he heard a loud crash. He ran from his house, saw the crashed vehicle and he and two other men moved the Cougar off the male victim and the third resident pulled the victim away from the car, Curtis said.
The woman had no pulse. Both she and the man appeared to be in their early 20s, Curtis said.
The witnesses and off-duty Sheriff’s Deputy Daren Mason, who lives nearby, tried to help the male victim. Mason gave the man CPR until volunteer firefighters and a Penobscot Valley hospital ambulance arrived and took him to the hospital, Curtis said.
It was unclear whether the victims were wearing seat belts.
The car appeared to be heading west along Route 188 when it came down a sloping hill and hit the sharp curve, which turns the road abruptly northward, when the accident occurred.
Judging by skid marks hundreds of feet long that crossed from the road’s eastern or northbound side into grass on the western side of Route 188, the car crossed the southbound lane, went into soft, thick but short grass at 107 Lowell Road and possibly dug its nose or side into the ground before rolling or flipping over a large shrub in the front yard.
It came to rest on the north side of the shrub and behind some pine trees just north of the driveway at 107.
The sharp curve is due east of Cold Stream Pond and near Proudlove’s Taxidermy at 24 Old Commonwealth Road. It is about a mile south of the Caribou Road intersection.
One neighbor, Jason Cummings, 39, said he lives on Lowell Road about 500 feet from the curve, which has a posted speed limit of 35 mph. Speeders are common, he said, with Mason having once clocked one at more than 60 mph.
“You hear tires squealing five times a day,” Cummings said. “People don’t know the corner and a lot of people just go fast. A lot of them know that corner and just go.”
The car involved in the accident looked like one that regularly traveled the curve, he said.
Cummings said he wasn’t sure if the curve could be made safer for motorists.
“There are houses on both sides. They can’t really do much” to improve the road, Cummings said. “They can put in speed bumps, maybe.”