Slipping, sliding vehicles keep police in northern Maine busy Saturday morning

Posted Nov. 23, 2013, at 4:25 p.m.
Last modified Nov. 24, 2013, at 1:10 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — Police in northern and coastal Maine received dozens of reports of minor accidents and cars off roads early Saturday morning.

Troopers out of the Orono barracks handled 14 reports between 4 and 7:30 a.m., Sgt. David Millett said Saturday afternoon. All were due to slippery road surfaces and people driving too fast for those conditions.

No one was taken to the hospital but a few people were treated at the scene, he said. Vehicles in nine of the incidents had damage. Others just needed to be towed back onto the road, according to Millett.

The vast majority of the accidents and slide-offs occurred between Newburgh and Old Town, he said. One was reported in Howland.

Millett said that he called in four extra troopers to help handle the volume of accidents.

“We got a mix of rain and sleet from about midnight to 2 a.m.,” he said. “About 4 a.m., the temperature dropped and everything froze. We starting getting calls at 4:15. By 7:30, it had warmed up enough that the roads dried off.”

In Hancock County, public safety dispatchers fielded nearly two dozen calls about cars sliding off roads Saturday morning but only a few resulted in any injuries, all of which were believed to be bumps and bruises.

Of those, five occurred in Trenton along Route 3 with two or three more each on Route 1A in Dedham and on Route 1 in Hancock, according to the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department. On Mount Desert Island the weather was “just warm enough” to prevent ice from forming on the roads, which kept vehicles safely on the roads, dispatchers there said.

Dispatchers in Washington County also reported vehicles going off the roads Saturday morning, including two rollover accidents in Jonesport and Marshfield. Most of those accidents are believed to have resulted in no or minor injuries, the Washington County Sheriff’s Department indicated.

A Waldo County Sheriff’s Department dispatcher said three cars were reported off the road early Saturday morning.

North of Howland, light snow fell in much of northern Penobscot and Aroostook counties, Tim Duda of the the National Weather Service in Caribou said Saturday afternoon. Fort Kent received 3 inches while 1.5 inches fell in Presque Isle.

Millett advised drivers to slow down if they are unsure of road conditions and turn on their hazards lights if they see people off the road to warn other motorists.

Millett also said that Maine has and enforces a “move over” law. It requires that a driver passing a stationary emergency vehicle using an emergency light or a stationary tow truck using its authorized lights move into the lane farthest from the emergency vehicle if conditions allow. Violation of the law carries a $311 fine, Millett said.

BDN writer Bill Trotter contributed to this report.

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