CHESTER, Maine — Two dogs jumping into a driver’s lap caused a collision with a tractor-trailer truck on Route 116 that sent three people to Penobscot Valley Hospital on Tuesday, state police said.
The accident caused a backup of traffic from Route 116, which is also known as River Road or the Access Road, that stretched from West Broadway to Main Street in Lincoln — about 2 miles.
Angelique McReavy, 34, of Lincoln was just returning from Chester Animal Hospital with the two children she was baby-sitting and her yellow and chocolate Labrador retrievers when the dogs jumped into the seat and onto her as she approached the Mattamiscontis Road intersection about 10:05 a.m., state police Trooper Benjamin Campbell said.
“She could not get them out of the way,” Campbell said. “She missed the stop sign.”
McReavy’s van slammed into the side of the trailer as the truck headed west toward the I-95 ramps at Exit 227. The truck dragged the vehicle about 25 feet before it stopped, Campbell said.
“She is lucky that the trailer bed sat low,” Campbell said. “If it had been higher, it might have rolled farther onto the van.”
The force of the collision apparently launched the front fender of McReavy’s vehicle about 75 yards beyond the truck, Campbell said.
McReavy was not wearing her seat belt and suffered heavy bruising in the accident, Campbell said. The children, a 1-year-old boy and 3-year-old girl, were in safety seats and suffered no injuries. An ambulance had taken the three to the hospital before Campbell arrived at the scene, causing him to misstate initially that the children were McReavy’s.
The chocolate Labrador suffered a bruised lung and was treated at the animal hospital, said a worker there. The worker said that she knew of only one dog being treated at the hospital.
The truck’s driver, Donald Breton, 58, of Sabattus, was uninjured. A driver for WD Matthews Machinery Co. of Auburn, Breton had just emptied the flatbed trailer of a forklift he had delivered to a Lincoln business, Campbell said.
“He felt his trailer move, looked back and saw the van underneath,” Campbell said.
The trailer had minor damage but the van was heavily damaged. Neither driver will be charged, Campbell said.
“I think she [McReavy] has had enough problems for one day,” he said.
The accident shows the importance of using animal carriers or erecting barriers between front and back seats, Campbell said.
“You see people driving with pets on their laps,” Campbell said, “and it [the accident] shows how they can be a distraction, even though that wasn’t her intention.”
Correction: This story was amended to correct that Angelique McReavy was babysitting the children and not their mother and that two dogs were in the van, not one. The incorrect information in the earlier version was provided by police.