WARREN, Maine — The driver of a loaded fuel truck made a brave decision Friday evening when he opted to veer off Route 1 in order to avoid colliding with traffic, according to police.
Maine State Police Trooper Jeremy Wesbrock said Saturday that driver Scott Brewer, 49, of Nobleboro had been heading north on the coastal thoroughfare at 5:40 p.m. when he went around a curve and saw a line of stopped traffic that had quickly backed up at the intersection with Old Settlers Road.
Brewer drove off the road and onto a field to avoid the stopped vehicles, and although his truck eventually overturned, the decision likely averted injuries, according to the trooper.
“I commended him,” Wesbrock said. “Not only as a driver, but as a person. To risk your own life to save others — the easier route to take would have been to plow into other people.”
The 2011 Maritime Energy tanker, which was carrying 9,000 gallons of No. 2 heating oil, turned over on the soft ground of the field. “A minimum amount” of oil was spilled, Wesbrock said.
No one was injured in the crash.
The accident caused Route 1 to be closed for six hours while authorities worked to clear the fuel and remove the truck.
“It took quite a bit of time to offload all that fuel,” Wesbrock said.
Two tow trucks, two more oil tanker trucks and “a lot of pulling” were involved in efforts to clear the road.
The trooper said the tanker truck was not drivable after the crash but he was not sure how much damage it sustained.
Crews from the Knox County Sheriff’s Office, Thomaston Police Department, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection and Auto Master Towing from South Thomaston assisted at the scene.
Wesbrock said DEP officials returned to the scene of the crash Saturday to make a more detailed analysis of the area where the fuel leaked.