ST. DAVID, Maine — Madawaska police, Aroostook County Sheriff’s deputies and emergency services responded to two related automobile accidents on U.S. Route 1 late Saturday morning. Police are still investigating the accidents, and they are trying to determine why a man was driving in the wrong lane for several miles shortly before 11 a.m.
According to Lt. Jamie Pelletier of the Madawaska Police Department, Douglas Hise, 49, of Caribou was driving a Cadillac Escalade northbound near the Grand Isle and Madawaska town line when he veered into and continued driving in the left southbound lane into oncoming traffic. Multiple cars avoided Hise by swerving into the opposite lane. Latrina Hazleton, 38, of Van Buren veered right, however, and tried to pass between Hise and the snowbank, Pelletier said.
Hise struck the rear driver’s side of Hazleton’s GMC Suburban, spinning her vehicle around and back into the roadway. Hazleton struck the opposite snowbank, and her vehicle came to rest. Hise continued driving toward Madawaska.
Hazleton was taken by ambulance to Cary Medical Center in Caribou with “some back pain,” Pelletier said.
Hise continued driving in the wrong lane of Route 1. “Traffic was avoiding him,” Pelletier said.
Approximately three miles later, Hise struck another vehicle, operated by Wilson Beaulieu, 73, of Madawaska, nearly head-on, police said.
Hise’s and Beaulieu’s vehicles were disabled following the collision. Damage to both vehicles was “pretty significant,” Pelletier said.
Hise was taken by ambulance to Northern Maine Medical Center in Fort Kent. A private vehicle took Beaulieu to the hospital. Pelletier said neither man appeared to have sustained life-threatening injuries.
Pelletier said Hise did not initially appear to be intoxicated or under the influence. Police are unsure at this time what caused Hise to drive erratically and travel in the wrong lane. The accidents remain under investigation.
Members of the Madawaska and Grand Isle fire departments also responded to the accidents. Police had temporarily closed off a section of the highway, rerouting people through Madawaska and St. David backroads.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Hise was driving southbound on Route 1 and that Hazelton was transported to Northern Maine Medical Center in Fort Kent.