June 06, 2020

Snow keeps police busy covering accidents

HOULTON — Only about five inches of snow fell Sunday and Monday in Aroostook County, but that was enough to make for a busy Monday morning for police.

State police at Houlton reported a total of 11 accidents in the county since late Sunday night, including a tractor-trailer truck that was struck in the rear by a tanker truck on Interstate 95 near Sherman. None of the accidents resulted in serious injuries.

For Houlton police, the action began at 6:30 a.m. Monday. Within a couple of hours, nine vehicles were involved in accidents, including two tractor-trailer trucks and a police cruiser. A portion of U.S. Route 1 was closed as a result of the accidents.

Houlton Police Chief Darrell Malone said the first accident occurred at 6:30 a.m. on County Road. He said a 1988 Ford pickup truck operated by Kenneth F. Prescott, 30, of Houlton, was traveling west when it failed to negotiate a curve and struck a sign post. Damage to the truck was estimated at $400. Prescott was not injured.

While police were investigating that accident, a second accident occured on U.S. Route 1. Malone said that a 1989 tractor-trailer unit operated by Wayne E. Burgess, 50, of Green, was traveling south and turning into the Star Dust Motel parking lot when it was struck by a car.

Troy R. West, 22, of Presque Isle, who also was traveling south, was unable to stop on the slippery road and his 1985 Oldsmobile struck the trailer causing an estimated $3,500 damage to the car and about $100 damage to the trailer, Malone said.

While police were at that accident, a Houlton police cruiser operated by Malone was struck by another car traveling south.

Malone said his cruiser, a 1989 Ford, was parked behind the trailer with its lights flashing. Another cruiser, also with lights flashing, was parked behind him.

A 1989 Buick operated by Laurie J. Schools, 22, of Houlton, struck Malone’s cruiser in the right rear and then spun around into a ditch. Damage to the cruiser was estimated at $350 and about $1,000 damage was done to Schools’ car.

Twenty minutes later, a northbound 1991 Freightliner tractor-trailer operated by Terry L. Smith, 40, of Lisbon Falls jackknifed at the same location near the motel.

A 1983 Ford pickup operated by Jason M. Cole, 19, of Houlton, was unable to stop and struck the jacknifed rig. Cole received only minor injuries, Malone said.

A portion of U.S. Route 1 near the motel was closed for about a half hour while police cleared the accient scene and got cars back on the road.

The last accident occurred at 8:40 a.m. at the intersection of Prospect and Winter streets in Houlton. Malone said a 1991 Dodge pickup operated by Wesley E. Adams, 60, of Houlton, was traveling east on Prospect Street and was unable to stop at a stop sign.

Adams’ truck struck a 1992 Chevrolet traveling south on Winter Street and operated by Ruth A. Swimm, 52, of Houlton. Damage to Swimm’s car was estimated by police at $350. The truck, which was equipped with a plow, was not damaged, according to Malone.

Slippery roads also prompted school officials in SAD 29 in Houlton to delay the start of school by one hour.

At Presque Isle, a Caribou woman and her passenger escaped injury after their vehicle slid into a gasoline pump Monday on South Main Street.

According to Presque Isle Police Officer Laurie Currier, Marilyn Thibodeau, 46, of Caribou, was driving north on South Main Street in her 1984 Mercury when drifting snow fogged her windshield causing her to turn off into a gas station.

Thibodeau was unable to stop her vehicle and it slid into a gas pump on the west side of the station, damaging the pump and causing a gasoline leak, said Currier.

Less than two gallons of gasoline was spilled and it was contained by gas station attendants, according to Pete Johnson, deputy fire chief. The Presque Isle Fire Department also responded to the scene with with one fire truck.

The vehicle received about $700 damage. A damage estimate for the gas pump was unknown, according to Currier.

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