HANCOCK, Maine — A two-vehicle accident at the intersection of Thorsen Road and Route 1 sent three people to the hospital, but what could have resulted in much more serious injuries was prevented by seat belts.
“When I arrived, it looked like a bomb had exploded,” said Maine State Trooper Mike Southard. “I thought for sure I was going to be dealing with at least one fatality.”
The accident occurred at 1:12 p.m. near the Knights Inn motel as a 2004 Chevy TrailBlazer SUV driven by Danny Carter, 36, of Franklin collided with the back and left side of a 1998 Chevy S-10 pickup truck driven by Michael Fessenden, 29, of Lamoine.
John Brundage, 59, also of Lamoine was in the passenger seat of the pickup.
“Both vehicles were driving north, leaving Ellsworth and heading toward Hancock,” said Southard. “The vehicle in front — the pickup — was turning left onto Thorsen from Route 1 and, for whatever reason, the SUV driver didn’t see him, looked up and he was right there.
The pickup had already started to turn. [Fessenden] said he saw him coming in the rearview mirror and knew he would be hit.”
Southard said the SUV rammed the pickup from behind at an undetermined speed and launched the pickup off the road, upside down, resting on its roof.
“Brundage was able to get out after hanging upside down from the seat belt,” Southard said. “I initially thought he had been ejected, but I would say the seat belt absolutely saved his life or prevented him from injury. All three were wearing seat belts.”
While the pickup was completely totaled, the SUV fared a bit better as most of the damage was done to the driver’s side quarter panel.
Brundage and Fessenden were taken by County Ambulance to Maine Coast Memorial Hospital in Ellsworth, and Carter was driven to the same hospital with unknown injuries.
“I went to the hospital and spoke to all of them, and none had serious injuries, but all of them had significant pain,” Southard said.
An on-duty nurse at Maine Coast Memorial said she was unable to release the conditions of the three men or confirm whether or not they had been released Tuesday night.
Units from Hancock Fire Department also went to the accident scene, which limited vehicle traffic to at least one lane for the better part of an hour.
Police had to shut down Route 1 for 25 minutes to remove debris.
“The pickup had antifreeze in storage containers, so they deployed hazardous material cleanup sponges and Speedy Dry for oil, gasoline and antifreeze,” said Southard, who added that both vehicles were towed away by wrecker and considered totaled.
Maine State Police Sgt. Jeff Ingemi also responded along with Trooper Phil Pushard, who was off duty at the time.