HAMPDEN, Maine — Hampden police say a driver in his early 20s was lucky to avoid injury after he crossed a lane of traffic, launched over a sidewalk and snowbank before striking a tree head-on Saturday afternoon.
Officer Shawn Devine said James Manning, whose exact age was not immediately available, was driving his Volkswagen Jetta north through town on Main Road North when he became distracted. Devine said Manning told him he had dropped his cellphone and was reaching down to pick it up just before the crash.
Witnesses said Manning was not speeding, but his car suddenly veered left across the opposing lane of traffic, clipping a telephone pole before launching over a sidewalk and a melting snowbank and crashing head-on into a sturdy tree outside a home next door to the George B. Weatherbee School.
The crash happened shortly before 2 p.m. Traffic was busy Saturday afternoon and pedestrians were out walking along Main Street, enjoying the warm spring weather. Devine said it was fortunate no one was walking down the sidewalk at the time that Manning veered across the opposing lane during a break in traffic.
Airbags deployed inside the Jetta after it struck the tree. Manning complained of some knee pain, but did not need taken to the hospital, according to Devine. The vehicle was totalled, according to the officer.
No charges have been filed in connection with the crash, but Devine said it is still under investigation.