20 tons of butter saved after tractor-trailer crash; driver uninjured during first day on job

Posted March 22, 2012, at 2:04 p.m.

BOWDOINHAM, Maine — No one was injured and 41,000 pounds of butter were unscathed Wednesday in a tractor-trailer crash that snarled traffic on Interstate 295 for several hours.

Maine State Police Trooper Chris Rogers said the driver of a tractor-trailer out of Springfield, Mass., 41-year-old Kevin Bryant, was on his first day on the job Wednesday morning when he fell asleep and careened into a wooded area near mile marker 40. Rogers said the truck scraped along a guardrail before plunging into a stand of trees.

“It was quite a sight. It burrowed a hole so far into the woods, you couldn’t see the truck from the road,” Rogers said. “I’ve never seen anything quite like it.”

Rogers said Bryant had left Springfield at about 4:30 a.m. Wednesday, which means he’d been driving for almost four hours by the time the accident was reported at 8:18 a.m. Bryant, who is from Chicopee, Mass., received a citation for an out-of-date logbook from the Maine State Police’s Commercial Vehicle Truck Weight division, said Rogers.

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The rig’s fuel tank was ruptured in the accident and leaked some diesel fuel, which was cleaned up by crews from the Department of Environmental Protection. Traffic on I-295 was slowed for most of the morning and at one point during a rush, was backed up for more than three miles, said Rogers.

The truck and refrigerated trailer, which are owned by A-C Motor Express, were both totaled.

Bryant, who was en route to Augusta with the butter delivery, was taken to Mid Coast Hospital in Brunswick for a precautionary check-up but was not injured, said Rogers. The butter also was saved when workers loaded it onto another truck and delivered it to its destination. It was a long process, according to Rogers, that involved the use of a small tractor to transport the butter out of the woods and lots of manual labor. Each pallet of butter, which was in 40-pound blocks, had to be unstacked inside the damaged truck, re-stacked outside and re-shrink-wrapped before being put on another truck.

“They tried to pull the truck out with the butter onboard, but it was too heavy,” said Rogers. “The truck was at a bit of an angle so it didn’t go easy, but it worked. I guess there’s a big demand for butter in the Augusta area.”

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