Mars Hill trucker’s rig catches fire on I-95, he gets ride in truck that crashes 10 miles down road

Posted March 10, 2014, at 2:04 p.m.
Last modified March 10, 2014, at 3 p.m.

SHERMAN, Maine — An Aroostook County truck driver was involved in two separate accidents on Interstate 95 Friday night, one after his own rig caught fire and another after a truck he was riding in left the road, state police said.

Lance Vangel, 51, of Mars Hill was headed northbound shortly before 7 p.m. when he discovered a small flame underneath his dashboard, Trooper Ben Campbell said.

Vangel pulled his truck over at mile marker 251, just north of the Medway exit, and had planned to extinguish the blaze with a fire extinguisher, but it was too late.

“By the time I got there, that thing was fully engulfed,” Campbell said.

Vangel was able to get clear of harm’s way after pulling his rig over, according to Campbell.

Campbell shut down the interstate for about an hour and a half so firefighters from Medway and East Millinocket could douse the fire, he said, and once traffic started flowing, Charles Hoyt, a driver from the same company Vangel drives for, picked him up.

About 10 miles north of where Vangel’s rig caught fire, Hoyt’s truck left the interstate and went into the median, the trooper said. Campbell, who was still at the original scene, responded and found out that Vangel was a passenger in Hoyt’s truck.

Both men were standing in the southbound side’s breakdown lane when Campbell arrived at the second scene, he said.

Hoyt, whose age and hometown were not available, suffered cuts to his forehead and was transported to a Houlton hospital for treatment, Campbell said. Vangel was not injured in either accident.

The trucks driven by both men, owned by Scamp’s Transport out of Houlton, were considered a total loss.

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