ORRINGTON, Maine — A sound that reminded Tim Kenney of a gunshot led the town fire captain Sunday to a pickup truck in his front yard with a badly injured childhood friend behind the wheel.
The 51-year-old Kenney was watching football with his wife, Doreen, in their home at 133 Snows Corner Road when the Chevy veered right, went airborne after hitting a snowbank and slammed into a maple tree, he and investigators said.
“It sounded like a transformer had blown out,” Kenney said as Penobscot County Sheriff’s Department deputies picked through the crumpled vehicle. “One of the dispatchers told me after I radioed it in, ‘You sounded a little excited.’ Wouldn’t you?”
The driver, whom Kenney and Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Eugene Fizell declined to identify, was bleeding from a serious head injury and had heavy bruising on the side of his face. He was unconscious when Kenney reached him. Firefighters used the Jaws of Life rescue tool to free the driver.
Kenney radioed the accident to Penobscot Regional Communication Center dispatchers at about 7 p.m. The unidentified man was semiconscious when an ambulance took him to Eastern Maine Medical Center of Bangor.
The collision pushed the pickup truck’s front bumper under the windshield. It was unclear whether the man was wearing a seat belt or whether an air bag had deployed, Fizell and Kenney said.
Kenney could do little more than hold the man’s neck to guard against spinal cord injury until rescuers arrived several minutes later.
He described the man as a neighbor who lived farther down Snows Corner Road. The accident represented his shortest journey to a call in a career spanning more than three decades.
However, two structure fires and another accident have occurred in Kenney’s neighborhood since Christmas and a motorcyclist suffered broken bones to about half of his side when he slammed into a utility pole opposite Kenney’s yard about 11 years ago, Kenney said.
Kenney said he hoped the pickup truck driver would be OK.