Lincoln man injured after SUV crashes through road barriers, may face charges

Posted Jan. 06, 2014, at 5:17 p.m.

LINCOLN, Maine — A Lincoln man might face a felony charge after the vehicle he was driving crashed through road-closure signs on High Street and into an unmanned construction site Saturday, police said Monday.

Kenneth Coffin, 66, of Lincoln might have had a medical problem immediately prior to the three-car accident. He suffered a gash to his head in the crash and remained under observation Monday at Penobscot Valley Hospital of Lincoln, said Dan Summers, Lincoln’s director of public safety.

If a medical problem didn’t contribute to the accident, Coffin could be charged with driving to endanger, Summers said. Under state law, that charge carries a 3 0 day to two-year driver’s license suspension and a fine of at least $575.

“It has come to light that we have had complaints of people running [the construction site] the wrong way,” Summers said. “They need to understand that there is only one-way traffic there for a reason.”

Coffin was heading north at about noon Saturday when his 2002 GMC Yukon blew through the site’s road closure and detour signs, rode up a concrete barrier, struck the passenger’s side of a southbound white GMC Suburban and continued head-on into a silver Toyota Tacoma, Summers said.

The Maine Department of Transportation in November closed the northbound lane over the High Street bridge as a crew repairs the structure, which spans an inlet to Mattanawcook Lake. Also known as Enfield Road and Route 155, High Street follows a sharp downhill grade to the West Broadway and Main Street intersection.

The drivers of the other vehicles, 68-year-old John Totz of Enfield and 51-year-old Sharon Crockett of Lincoln, did not suffer injuries. The three drivers were wearing their seatbelts, Summers said.

Coffin did not appear to be traveling much or at all in excess of the 25 mph speed limit posted in the area, Summers said.

Police received three or four complaints Monday of people driving the wrong way through the site during the last several months. No reports have come from the repair crews, which leads investigators to suspect that the illegal activity is occurring overnight or after the crews leave the site, Summers said.

Northbound traffic detours onto Ayer and Perry streets before reconnecting with Main via West Broadway. Police have also received reports of several motorists running the stop sign at Ayer and Perry streets, Summers said.

Officer Anthony Redmond is handling the accident investigation. Anyone who witnessed Saturday’s accident or who would like to report vehicles running the closed construction site the wrong way should call police at 794-8455. All calls will be kept confidential, Summers said.

Several of the bridge’s roadway supports are being upgraded as part of routine repairs. The work is about half finished and should be completed by spring, Summers said.

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