JACKMAN, Maine — A 5-year-old boy was killed early Tuesday when a Canadian driver fell asleep at the wheel of a tractor-trailer truck and the vehicle flipped over and spilled its tree-length load of logs onto the house where the youngster was asleep on a couch, police said.
The boy, who died at the scene, was identified as Liam Mahaney.
Christian Cloutier, 57, of Quebec, had rounded a slight curve at about 2:30 a.m. on U.S. Route 201 when his vehicle struck two utility poles and the vehicle flipped onto its side, according to Lt. Carl Gottardi II of the Somerset County Sheriff’s Department. The southbound truck ended up against the house at 510 Main St. and the logs fell out, demolishing the first floor. The impact also caused the second floor of the building to collapse to the ground level, Gottardi said Tuesday.
When the accident occurred, there were six people inside the house: an adult, Mahaney and another child on the first floor and an adult and two children on the second floor, according to Gottardi. The other five occupants of the house were taken to the Jackman Health Center for treatment and all but one had been released as of late Tuesday afternoon. That person, Mahaney’s mother, was taken to Redington-Fairview General Hospital in Skowhegan with injuries that were not life-threatening, he said.
Cloutier, who told police that he fell asleep at the wheel, was taken by ambulance to the Jackman Health Center and was later transferred to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor. His injuries also appeared not to be life-threatening, Gottardi said. The 2011 Peterbilt truck and trailer owned by D.A.N. Express of Quebec was heavily damaged and was impounded for further inspection.
The house involved in the accident is owned by Jack and Murielle Carrier of Jackman, according to a town official. It was being rented to Mr. and Mrs. Gary Mahaney and another family.
The crash knocked the power out for residents in the area and Route 201 was closed for about two hours as the power lines and logs were removed. Gottardi said one lane was still closed as of late Tuesday afternoon.
The accident is under reconstruction by the sheriff’s department and the Maine State Police.
Gottardi said it appeared that speed may have been a factor in the accident. He said the Somerset County District Attorney’s Office will review the accident to see what, if any, prosecution is warranted.
Deputies Eugene Cole and Michael Ross were assisted at the scene by Jackman and West Forks firefighters, the Jackman Health Center ambulance, U.S. Border Patrol agents, Maine State Police, and an ambulance from Charles A. Dean Memorial Hospital in Greenville.