TOPSFIELD, Maine — The headboard of a logging truck was credited Tuesday with saving a logging truck driver’s life when his 18-wheeler tipped over on Route 6 on Monday.
The passenger side of the logging truck was crushed after the truck came to rest on the roof of its cab, but driver Waldo McMannis had just a bump on his head, Springfield Volunteer Fire Department Chief Jim White said. He was the vehicle’s only occupant.
White said the headboard, a large piece of metal and mesh that sits behind the driver’s side, protected McMannis, a driver for Carver Trucking Inc. of Patten, like a roll bar would in a jeep or recreational vehicle.
“It held up the driver’s compartment. That was the only thing open,” White said Tuesday. “The passenger’s side of the truck was flattened.”
The accident occurred at 249 Lakeview Road, which is a few miles west of U.S. Route 1, at about 1:30 p.m., a dispatcher for the Washington County Sheriff’s Department said.
Kingman Fire Chief Glenn O’Donal helped McMannis get out of the truck once it came to rest, White said.
A Lincoln Fire Department ambulance took McMannis to Penobscot County Hospital in Lincoln as a precaution, the dispatcher said.
White suspects that the truck, which was fully loaded, became unwieldy after it hit a rough patch in the road and tipped over when it hit a sharply-cut embankment immediately after.
A truck carrying wood chips tipped over in the same spot about a month ago, White said.
“His logs landed on the wood chips that are still there,” White said.
Sheriff’s Deputy Steve Ramsey, who was off-duty on Tuesday, is handling the investigation, the dispatcher said.
The 911 call came into the Penobscot Regional Communication Center and placed the accident in nearby Kossuth Township. Springfield Fire began covering Kossuth per an agreement with the Washington County Commission after the Topsfield Fire Department shut down due to a lack of members.
The dispatchers also called for Lincoln ambulance, White said.
Firefighters spent six hours directing traffic at the scene as Treeline Inc. of Lincoln, a logging company, collected the logs and placed them in a Carver truck. Route 6 was closed in both directions, White said.
White said he was amazed to see that McMannis was physically intact, though a bit shaken up, once he saw the damage to the truck.
“He’s very lucky,” White said.