ACADIA NATIONAL PARK, Maine — A Florida woman has been summoned on a federal charge of possession of marijuana after her car went off the Park Loop Road, fell 20 feet down a steep embankment and caught fire on Thursday, according to a park ranger.
A bicyclist from Argentina who witnessed the accident put out the flames with a fire extinguisher from a passing Island Explorer bus and then kicked out the rear window of the woman’s car and pulled her to safety, Ranger Chris Wiebusch said Friday.
The woman, Brenda McCabe, 57, of St. Petersburg, Florida, suffered only minor injuries in the accident, according to Wiebusch.
The accident occurred around 11 a.m. as McCabe was driving a 2016 Kia Sedona toward Otter Cliffs, the ranger said. Rangers are not sure how it happened, but Wiebusch said McCabe told them that she heard a loud noise just prior to her car rolling off the road.
“It took two coping stones with it and fell about 20 feet,” Wiebusch said of the vehicle, which came to rest on its driver’s side. “She heard a loud bang and the next thing she knew the vehicle was rolling off the cliff.”
Wiebusch said McCabe’s car may have drifted off the left side of the pavement and blown a tire, which then could have caused her car to veer over the edge.
The cause of the accident is still under investigation.
Wiebusch said the quick thinking of the cyclist, whom rangers interviewed after the accident with the help of a translator, helped prevent the bad situation from becoming worse. He said he did not have the name of the man who put out the fire and then rescued the woman from the smoking car.
“He was a hero,” he said.
The Kia car was demolished in the accident, he said. Its air bags deployed and McCabe was wearing a seat belt, he added.
McCabe was transported by ambulance to Mount Desert Island Hospital in Bar Harbor, where she was treated and then released, Wiebusch said. She was summoned on the marijuana possession charge when rangers found the drug among her personal belongings in the wreckage of the car, he said.
The section of the Park Loop Road where the Kia tumbled over the edge was closed for about two hours, with park traffic diverted around the accident scene and through the Fabbri Picnic Area parking lot.
The car and two coping stones were lifted back up to the road by a crane truck belonging to Bar Harbor masonry contractor L.E. Norwood & Sons, according to the ranger.
Wiebusch said park rangers also responded to two relatively minor medical emergencies, one later Thursday and another Friday morning.
On Thursday evening, a 65-year-old man from New York City was carried to safety by park staff, Bar Harbor firefighters and volunteers with MDI Search and Rescue after he injured his ankle and knee while hiking on South Bubble Mountain.
A 70-year-old woman from San Diego was transported to safety by boat Friday morning after she fell and injured her leg while hiking with relatives around Jordan Pond, Wiebusch said.