PASSADUMKEAG, Maine — The truck belonging to a missing Passadumkeag man has been found in the Penobscot River and his body was recovered early Sunday, according to Deputy Chief Troy Morton of the Penobscot County Sheriff’s Office.
Gerald Crommett, 75, who left his house on Pleasant Street around 5 a.m. Saturday and was the subject of a search that extended into the night, apparently lost control of his truck and struck trees on Route 2 about half a mile north of Pleasant Street.
Trooper Tucker Bonnieve of the Maine State Police was searching for Crommett on Route 2 around 8:45 p.m. when a damaged piece of mirror caught in the trees caught his eye, Morton said.
“They located a bumper cover and mirror that appeared to be from a truck,” the deputy chief said. “With the heavy blowing snow we couldn’t see out over the river.”
Because of the whiteout conditions, the site was secured and searchers regrouped Sunday morning. An airboat from the Maine Wardens Service found the truck around 8:40 a.m. Sunday about six feet past where the ice reached into the river and divers were able to remove Crommett’s body around 10 a.m., Morton said. Route 2 was closed to traffic around 10:45 a.m. so crews could remove the truck, estimated to be around 60 feet from shore. The road reopened just after noon.
“My family and the Crommett family are grateful to all those who have offered their comforting thoughts prayers and assistance,” state Sen. Andre Cushing, who is related to Crommett, posted on his Facebook page Saturday night. “Unfortunately, it appears that the search is over and the results are not what we hoped for.”
Crommett was headed to his bait shop in Enfield and was reported missing at 11:45 a.m. Saturday. The Penobscot County Sheriff’s Office issued an urgent media message at 2:15 p.m. Saturday asking anyone who had seen Crommett or his truck to contact them.
“We reached out to local snowmobilers, the DOT [Maine Department of Transportation] and local [snow] plowers,” Morton said.
“To the members of the authorities: Maine State Police, Penobscot County Sheriff’s, and the Maine Warden’s Service, who are also dealing with their own loss at this time of Major Greg Sanborn, you have our thanks for your compassion and professionalism in this difficult time,” Cushing said. “Our thanks as well to the many friends and colleagues who volunteered their time and helped with the search.”
He also thanked Maine Department of Transportation employees, Penobscot Indian Nation game wardens and Passadumkeag and Howland volunteer firefighters for their assistance.
Crommett was the father of Gwen Crommett Cushing, the newly elected state senator’s wife.
Crommett and his wife, Dail, have lived in Passadumkeag since they married, Andre Cushing said Sunday.
“He was very active for years as a broker of live fish. Selling, especially eels to markets in western Europe,” he said. “He was respected as a hardworking and generous man who over the years employed [many] young people from the area.
“The outpouring of condolences and support from so many of those who knew, worked with or did business with Gerald is a testimony to the many lives this special man touched,” Cushing said.