LINCOLN, Maine — An 88-year-old Lincoln woman suffered possible chest injuries when her rented vehicle left U.S. Route 2 and went into a drainage ditch before striking a new Bank of Maine sign on Friday, police and firefighters said.
Lincoln firefighters said they used the Jaws of Life to free Almida Daigle from the 2011 Ford Focus she was driving when the accident occurred about noon.
The extent of Daigle’s injuries was not immediately apparent, but firefighters said she appeared semiconscious at the scene. Penobscot Valley Ambulance Service took her to the hospital for examination as a precaution, police Officer Mark Fucile said.
“I don’t think the injuries are life-threatening,” Fucile said.
Daigle was heading along Route 2, which is also known as West Broadway, toward downtown Lincoln when she lost control of the Ford just before it crossed Penobscot Valley Avenue. She told investigators that her unfamiliarity with the Ford caused the accident, Fucile said.
“From what it appears to be, she hit the accelerator, not the brake, as she was driving along West Broadway,” Fucile said.
Daigle was using the rental car while her own vehicle was being repaired, Fucile said.
Workers at the bank said their first indication of the accident was a loud bang. They were among the witnesses, including passers-by, who called 911. One bank worker who ran to the accident immediately afterward said Daigle complained of chest pains.
The Ford dented a traffic light pole, knocked over the West Broadway-Penobscot Valley Avenue road sign and went through the shrubs surrounding the bank sign before coming to rest against the bank sign, Fucile said.
The bank sign at the intersection of Route 2 and Penobscot Valley Avenue had been installed about a month ago, bank workers said. It was knocked slightly askew but did not appear to be heavily damaged. Utility or bank workers cut electricity to the sign as a precaution, Fucile said.
Fucile said he did not know whether Daigle was wearing her seat belt, but the Ford’s front and side air bags appeared to have deployed properly. The speed limit in the area is 35 mph, and Daigle probably was traveling about that fast when the accident occurred, he said.
The car had extensive front-end damage and was a total loss, Fucile said.