HAMPDEN, Maine — The young man driving an Audi that somehow got stuck under a tractor-trailer at the junction of Route 202 and the Mecaw Road Saturday afternoon was trapped inside the smashed vehicle for awhile but was talking by the time firefighters removed him.
Dakota El-Hajj, 20, of Winterport remained inside the white 1999 Audi, with a smashed front window and deployed air bags, while firefighters secured his neck with a brace before carefully removing him for the vehicle.
Douglas Woodard, 34, of Plymouth was driving the Kris-Way Truck Leasing vehicle, Hampden police Officer Joel Small said. The car was lodged underneath the tractor, just before the first set of double tires.
The collision occurred at around 1:30 p.m. and was happened upon by three women from Brewer, who called 911. The trio went to Hampden for lunch and were returning home on Route 202.
“We were just driving by when we saw the man flagging someone down,” Kira Cyr said while sitting in the passenger seat of her mother-in-law’s vehicle, which was still parked on the side of the road. “We called it in.”
The man was the driver of the big rig, she said.
“We thought it looked pretty rough,” said Julie Cyr from the back seat.
The trio sat and watched as Hampden firefighters and ambulance crews, later aided by Bangor firefighters, assisted El-hajj. They were happy to hear the young driver was alert.
Woodard could be seen leaning his head on the door of his truck while talking to an employee of the truck leasing company, which is located on nearby Perry Road.
He declined to answer questions about the collision, but the Kris-way employee responded by saying he was “all shook up.”
A man driving on Mecaw heading towards Route 202 saw the accident and could be heard saying, “Dude, I’m shook up by seeing this,” when he was approached by Officer Small about his witness statement.
The crash occurred at the entrance to Mecaw Road and blocked traffic onto the side street and slowed traffic on Route 202 for a short time. Crews were still at the scene at 2:45 p.m., a dispatcher said.
El-Hajj was taken by ambulance to Eastern Maine Medical Center for a head injury that was not life-threatening, Small said.
Two men who also stopped to see if they could do anything said the driver is lucky to be alive.
“Poor kid,” was what Hampden resident Corey Webb, a physician’s assistant, said just before he left the scene.