EDINBURG, Maine – A New Brunswick man who died when his car ran off Interstate 95 a week ago might have suffered a health problem that caused the accident, state police said Wednesday.
William Sweeney, 69, of Taymouth, New Brunswick, was declared dead on Feb. 6 after rescue workers failed to revive him with cardiopulmonary resuscitation, Trooper Ben Campbell said.
“The real nature [of Sweeney’s death] is still undetermined but it was definitely something medical. It sounds like a heart attack,” Campbell said Wednesday.
Sweeney’s wife, Patricia, reported that she and her husband were driving south on I-95 in their 2004 Volvo sedan near mile marker 211 during a snowstorm when he clutched at his chest, groaned, and the car suddenly swerved deep into woods well off the highway, Campbell said.
Phillip Edwards, 66, of Millinocket was driving behind the Volvo and called 911 after the car sped into woods well off the highway. Edwards reported the accident about 10:45 a.m., saying that the Volvo appeared to be gaining speed as it left the road, Campbell said.
Edwards stopped his vehicle, spoke to Patricia Sweeney, who suffered a black eye and bruises in the crash, and tried to help her husband, Campbell said.
“He was helpful because right away he gave us an idea that it was something medical,” Campbell said of Edwards. “He also took care of the wife [Patricia Sweeney] in his vehicle until the ambulance arrived.”
When rescue workers arrived, they found that Sweeney had no pulse and was not breathing, Campbell said.
“They did CPR on him for quite awhile,” Campbell said.
State police have done an accident reconstruction. They await the results of an examination by the Maine chief medical examiner’s office, said Campbell, who is handling the investigation.