FRANKLIN, Maine — State police say a local man died Friday morning when a vehicle he was driving on Route 182 struck a guardrail, became airborne and went down a steep roadside embankment.
Brennon Potter, 23, was alone in the 1969 Ford Bronco when the accident occurred, Trooper Chris Smith said Friday afternoon. Potter, who has listed addresses in both Franklin and Deer Isle, was not wearing a seat belt, the trooper said.
The accident happened near where Alder Brook runs underneath Black Woods Road, as the section of highway between the villages of Franklin and Cherryfield is known.
According to Smith, Potter was driving the vehicle east toward Washington County when it crossed the centerline of the highway and then struck the end of a guardrail head-on. The sport-utility vehicle became airborne before landing and striking several trees at the bottom of a steep embankment, the trooper said.
Any motorists that may have driven past the accident scene would have been unable to see where the Bronco came to rest, Smith said.
“The vehicle flipped end over end several times,” he said.
Potter was partially ejected from the vehicle in the crash, the trooper added.
Smith said police are not sure when the accident occurred. It definitely happened Friday between 6 a.m. and 9:27 a.m., when it was reported by a nearby resident and most likely happened sometime after 8 a.m., he said.
The man who reported the accident, whom Smith did not identify, left home earlier Friday and was returning home when he noticed something amiss. The plowed snow at the edge of the road where Potter struck the guardrail, which is near the end of the man’s driveway, had been disturbed, the trooper said. The man got out of his vehicle to investigate and, when he looked over the edge of the road, he saw the Bronco at the bottom of the steep slope.
Smith said police do not know what may have caused the accident. He said that, given the extensive damage in the crash to the 40-plus-year-old vehicle, police likely would not be able to determine whether a vehicle malfunction may have contributed to the cause.
He said police think Potter was on his way to a friend’s house when the accident occurred.
Maine State Police Sgt. Tim Varney; the Franklin Volunteer Fire Department; and state troopers David Barnard, Bryan Creamer and Keith York assisted Smith at the scene, he said.
Follow BDN reporter Bill Trotter on Twitter at @billtrotter.