Trooper injured in Presque Isle crash discharged from hospital

Posted Feb. 27, 2013, at 5:08 p.m.

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — The Maine State Police trooper who was injured in a crash on Monday evening while making a U-turn on U.S. Route 1 in Presque Isle has been discharged from a Bangor hospital.

Shawn Whalen is no longer a patient at Eastern Maine Medical Center, a spokesperson said late Wednesday afternoon. The trooper had been a patient at the facility since the accident, which took place at approximately 4:20 p.m. Monday. He was listed in fair condition on Tuesday.

The trooper was flown to EMMC after suffering a hip injury while attempting to turn around in the road and being struck by another car.

Whalen had been heading south when he attempted a U-turn on the north end of town, according to Stephen McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety. The trooper did not have his lights or sirens activated, as he was not pursuing a vehicle, McCausland said.

Eric Rosten, 49, of Presque Isle, who also had been driving south in his 2006 Dodge Stratus, couldn’t avoid striking the driver’s side of Whalen’s cruiser, state police Sgt. Brian Harris said in a press release.

McCausland said that making a U-turn is not illegal as long as it is done safely, and that police believe that Rosten was in Whalen’s blind spot when the trooper turned.

Acting state police Lt. John Cote agreed, saying that a kennel occupied by Bailey, a bomb-sniffing police dog who was in the cruiser at the time, contributed to the crash. While the dog was not injured, Cote said that Bailey’s dog kennel behind the front seat made it a bit harder for Whalen to see the vehicle in the blind spot.

Whalen was taken by Crown Ambulance to The Aroostook Medical Center in Presque Isle and later flown by Fresh Air to EMMC in Bangor for further treatment.

Rosten suffered a minor injury to his hand and was not taken to the hospital.

Both Whalen’s cruiser, a 2011 Ford Crown Victoria, and Rosten’s vehicle were significantly damaged and considered total losses, according to the state police statement.

Both operators were wearing their seat belts and Rosten’s air bags also deployed.

Harris is continuing his investigation into the crash.

In April 1996, Trooper James “Drew” Griffith of Thomaston died after starting a U-turn to pursue a speeding vehicle and being struck by a commercial ice truck on U.S. Route 1 in Thomaston. The husband and father of four was killed instantly when his cruiser was hit broadside by the truck.

Griffith also had his German shepherd police dog, Rock, in a kennel in his vehicle at the time of the accident. The dog was not injured.