May 22, 2018
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Holden teen suffers minor injuries in freak accident on Route 1A

Sgt. Eugene Fizell | Holden Police Department
Sgt. Eugene Fizell | Holden Police Department
The wreckage above is the result of a freak accident Wednesday evening on U.S. Route 1A in Holden, where a pickup truck got away from the 16 year old boy who was working under it and went down a steep driveway headed toward the busy roadway. The teenager managed to catch up with his truck and stop it just short of a steep embankment across the road from his driveway — but not quickly enough to avoid the pickup's being struck by a tractor-trailer from Nova Scotia.
By Dawn Gagnon, BDN Staff

HOLDEN, Maine — A Holden teenager suffered an injury to his buttocks Wednesday evening after the 1997 Ford Ranger pickup he was working under rolled out of his steep driveway, headed downhill to busy U.S. Route 1A and was struck by a tractor-trailer.

The incident happened shortly before 7 p.m., near the intersection of Route 1A and Upper Church Road, Holden police Sgt. Eugene Fizell said Thursday.

“He’s under it working on it when he felt it begin to roll,” Fizell said. “It was pointed downhill, toward 1A. He felt it start to move, so he gets out from under the truck safely,” the sergeant said.

The truck’s keys were in the boy’s house and the pickup was in park at the time. Fizell also said the teenager did not use the parking brake while he was working under the car, nor did he use any secondary blocking behind the tires, which would have been helpful.

“The truck starts to roll down his driveway toward 1A,” Fizell said. “It’s a pretty steep driveway. It’s a good incline. It’s the kind you’d want to go sledding on.

“He runs after the truck on the driver’s side, trying to get the door open to apply the brakes. He catches the truck as it’s getting to 1A. He gets the door open, jumps into the truck and gets it stopped [on the opposite side of Route 1A] just before it got over the embankment [on the opposite side of the roadway],” Fizell said, adding that the teenager’s name was withheld because of his age.

“So he gets the vehicle stopped but he is now perpendicular to the travel lane heading west toward Brewer,” Fizell said. “His front tires are in the breakdown lane. His rear two-thirds of the truck are in the travel lane. The kid is sitting in the truck because he’s applied the brakes. He’s already in park but the park connection had failed, allowing it to go down the hill.

“So he looks to his right toward Ellsworth and sees a tractor-trailer coming. He jumps out of the truck and starts to get out of the way” but there is too little time, Fizell said. The tractor-trailer’s right front bumper hit the rear passenger tire of the Ford Ranger, he said.

“It rips the tire off the rear and shoots it forward toward the eastbound cars, hitting the front end of a sedan that had stopped when it saw the pickup truck in the roadway, causing damage to that car. It destroyed the front bumper,” he said.

But it didn’t end there. As the tractor-trailer was coming to a stop, the impact from the collision spun the pickup around.

“So the pickup truck strikes the young boy on the backside and throws him over the embankment,” Fizell said. The pickup then got caught under the middle of the fully loaded trailer.

The teenager was taken to St. Joseph Hospital in Bangor, where he was treated and released.

“I did view the dash cam and it showed that the last five minutes before the accident was visible. As the driver is coming through with his dash cam going, he couldn’t see the pickup truck until he was probably 50 feet from it.”

Fizell said Curtis Cutler, 37, of Upper Kennetcook, Nova Scotia, was driving the big rig, which belongs to Brookville Carriers of Truro, Nova Scotia. The 2012 Peterbilt tractor had $3,000 to $4,000 in damage, including a punctured radiator, a sliced tire and dents on its grille, gas tank, cowling and passenger-side door, Fizell said.

“He did a phenomenal job in controlling a fully loaded tractor-trailer applying a panic stop. He was carrying probably 85,000 pounds with his tractor-trailer and his payload,” Fizell said, noting that the rig was traveling 45 mph, the posted speed limit. “He kept this tractor and trailer almost straight. He did an excellent job of driving.”

The car struck by the flying tire was a 2007 Ford sedan driven by Michael Roman, 27, of Bangor and registered to Russell White, 22, also of Bangor, who was a passenger, Fizell said. The car had about $1,500 in damage to its front bumper.

The teenager’s pickup was destroyed, he said.

The accident — and subsequent cleanup operation — completely shut down Route 1A for about an hour and reduced travel to one lane at a time for another hour, Fizell said.

Fizell said he was assisted at the scene by Deputy Jason Matheson and Deputy Darren Mason of the Penobscot County Sheriff’s Office and Holden fire and emergency medical personnel and Capital Ambulance.

No charges are pending in connection with the crash.

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