ORRINGTON, Maine — Police say a teenage driver was lucky to walk away — let alone walk away without a scratch — from a crash that totaled his SUV and left it a twisted, broken mess in a strand of cedar trees late Sunday night.
“It was pretty much the worst damage I’ve seen done to a car where the driver walked away from it without an injury,” said Penobscot County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Eugene Fizell, a 40-year veteran law officer. “The fog was extremely bad last night. I couldn’t see a thing.”
Orrington Fire and Rescue also assisted at the crash, which occurred at approximately 10 p.m. Sunday.
Samuel Pitchford, 18, of Bucksport was driving home on Long Hill Road when he apparently never saw the stop sign at the T-shaped intersection of Long Hill and Center Drive and drove through it.
“There were no brake marks,” said Fizell. “He went straight across [Center Drive] into a stand of trees and broke three of them that had to be about 8 inches across.”
The 2003 Jeep Liberty Pitchford was driving went airborne over the ditch beside Center Drive and about 15 feet before coming to a stop in a pile of snow.
“The left side was totally raked across a large spruce tree and that pushed him diagonally across, taking out his left side, breaking all the windows on that side and the rear,” Fizell said. “That bounced him across to the right side and also ripped open the left side of the tailgate before he smashed into two other trees, snapping them off at ground level and destroying the right side and the front end.”
Fizell said the entire left side of the Jeep was dented along with the tailgate, the bumper was ripped off, the front headlights were totally smashed, and the undercarriage was snapped.
“He said he was going 35 to 40, but I would say from the damage done it was more like 45,” said Fizell, who is also a Holden police sergeant. “The speed limit there is 45, but I estimated the top safe speed in that fog to be about 20 miles, and I’ve been driving that area for 10 years.”
Fizell credited the snow piles for saving Pitchford from serious injury.
“The Jeep was absolutely totaled, but fortunately due to the snow and him wearing his seat belt, he walked away unscathed,” he said.
Pitchford’s parents took him home and his car was towed by Union Street Citgo in Bangor.