Police charge Richmond man with OUI after truck nearly crashes into house

Posted June 07, 2012, at 6:12 a.m.

RICHMOND, Maine — Richmond police charged a local man with operating under the influence after he crashed his truck Friday night along Front Street, narrowly missing a house.

Richmond Police Chief Scott MacMaster said the crash was reported at 8:35 p.m. Friday. Joseph Champagne, 40, of 52 Main St., Apt. 5, allegedly was driving a 2003 Chevy pickup truck north on Front Street when his vehicle veered off the right side of the road and traveled down a steep embankment.

The truck flipped, missing a house by about 3 feet, MacMaster said. The truck came to rest partially on its roof and partially against a tree, which kept it from hitting the house. The crash occurred near 385 Front St., which neighbors the Swan Island boat launch area, MacMaster said.

When officers arrived on scene, Champagne, the sole occupant of the truck, was in the process of crawling out through the rear of the vehicle, according to MacMaster. He complained of general pain in the upper back and lower neck area and was transported by North East Mobile Health Services to Mid Coast Hospital in Brunswick, where he was treated and released, according to a hospital spokesman.

The homeowner was home at the time of the crash and was not injured. Stairs leading from the street to his door were damaged and some trees on the property had to be cut. He reported hearing a loud noise and rumbling but didn’t realize a truck had crashed near his home until police arrived.

MacMaster said Tuesday that police believe alcohol was a factor and that speed was not a factor in causing the crash. Champagne received a summons at the hospital for operating under the influence.

The pickup truck was removed within about 20 minutes and hauled away by Rick’s Towing. The Richmond Fire Department responded and assisted with traffic control and removal of the truck.

MacMaster said the crash forced police to close Front Street to traffic for approximately 45 minutes.

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