BELFAST, Maine — A driver was critically injured Saturday afternoon in a three-car accident that also damaged Belfast’s iconic Gothic building and closed a downtown block to traffic while officials cleaned up and tried to piece together what had happened.
Police did not immediately identify the driver of the white Mercury sedan with Massachusetts plates. But Officer Rick Smith said the older man had been driving fast at about 1 p.m. down Main Street hill when he suddenly veered around a van in the five-way intersection and then drove straight into a parked car and then the brick Gothic building.
The parked Saab sedan, owned by a couple from Vienna in Kennebec County, was struck hard enough that it was sent flying into a car that was being parked before coming to a halt, wrecked, on the sidewalk in front of the Bangor Savings Bank building. The man who was parallel parking his car was very shaken after the accident and grateful that his toddler son, who was in his car seat in the backseat, was not injured in the accident.
According to police, it was possible the driver of the white Mercury had suffered some kind of medical event prior to the accident. Two nurses were in the area and were able to help him on the spot, Smith said. He was taken to Waldo County General Hospital in Belfast by ambulance and from there was transported to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor by LifeFlight of Maine helicopter.
Todd French, the owner of the Gothic, was in the upstairs apartment when the car hit the building and shattered the glass window that allows diners at the Gothic Restaurant to have a commanding view of Main Street. The restaurant is closed for the season.
“The whole thing shook,” French said, adding that he hopes the driver of the car will be OK and that he was glad no pedestrians or other people were injured, too. “It really could have been a lot worse. It’s just a building.”
Jacqueline and Nolan Dubord of Vienna had been walking back to their parked car when they saw emergency lights flashing on the Main Street block.
“We thought ‘oh, something’s happening,’” Jacqueline Dubord recounted. “Then we realized it was our car.”
The Dubords said they had briefly debated leaving their springer spaniel in the car while they stopped in Belfast, but in the end decided to take her with them.
“We probably won’t ever leave her in the car again,” Jacqueline Dubord said.