Orono man totals pickup while reaching for cellphone

Posted Sept. 24, 2012, at 4:30 p.m.

DEDHAM, Maine — An Orono man who escaped a rollover accident with only minor injuries Monday morning was reaching for his cellphone when he went off the road, according to state police.

Police issued a summons to Jacob Moores, 21, on a charge of failure to maintain control of a motor vehicle. Moores was transported to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor with minor injuries.

Moores was driving south on Bald Mountain Road in Dedham around 11:30 a.m. when his vehicle left the road and rolled over, said Trooper Mike Southard. Moores’ blue Ford Ranger was totaled, Southard said.

“He said he was reaching for his phone,” Southard said. “This crash could have been avoided had he not been doing that, and that’s why he was summonsed.”

Southard said distracted driving is a top cause for single-vehicle accidents. Earlier this year, Maine passed a law to crack down on texting while driving. Moores crashed before he even had the cellphone in his hand, Southard said.

“We see it too much,” Southard said of distracted driving. “Folks are gonna start being summonsed for it if it causes a crash. We’re trying to send a message that this kind of behavior is unacceptable. It’s caused a lot of accidents.”

Southard said Moores faces a $119 fine for the traffic infraction, but said he could have been facing much more dire consequences.

“His seat belt saved his life today, no question about it,” the trooper said.

Follow Mario Moretto on Twitter at @riocarmine.