MONSON, Maine — Chester Jaynes Annance has responded to all kinds of automobile emergencies during his 20 years working for the family business, Moosehead Towing.
But on July 3, he was called to the scene of a car-moose crash on Route 15 in Monson that was unlike anything he’d ever seen.
The bull moose was in the car, dead. And the driver, David Richards of Skowhegan, was walking around, talking with emergency personnel.
Richards is the director of the Margaret Chase Smith Library in Skowhegan.
“I couldn’t even believe he was alive,” Annance said. “This was the worst moose accident I’ve ever been in on … it’s actually remarkable for the amount of damage that moose did to the car.”
Piscataquis County Sheriff’s Department investigator Guy Dow responded to the scene not far from the point where Route 15 bisects Spectacle Ponds. He said Richards seemed OK.
“He had cuts and abrasions on his head but he was walking and talking,” Dow said. “I’ve seen cars ripped open before [in car-moose crashes] but the moose would be lying beside it or behind it.”
In this case, the moose ended up largely in the front passenger seat.
A woman who answered Richards’ phone on Wednesday said that the family would not disclose any details about the extent of Richards’ injuries, preferring to keep the matter private.
Annance said passers-by in Greenville flocked to Greenville Towing’s yard on July 4, with an estimated 900 people stopping to look at the moose in the car.
There have been several car-moose accidents since July 3, and Dow said motorists must use caution while driving, especially at night.
“Just be alert,” Dow said. “It was a dark evening [on July 3]. They do blend in with the wet tar. And they do run right out in front of motorists.”
According to previous news reports, more than 500 car-moose accidents take place each year in Maine.
On Tuesday, a Brewer man was killed when his Dodge Grand Caravan hit a moose on Interstate 95 in Howland — the state’s first fatality resulting from a car-moose collision this year. Later on Tuesday, a state trooper totalled his cruiser when he hit a moose while driving to the scene of another car-moose crash in Cyr Plantation. No fatalities were reported in 2013.