April 07, 2020

Ice shuts down stretch of Route 9 > Two vehicles slide off road; Machias man, son emerge without injury

A section of Route 9 was closed for nearly an hour Friday night after two vehicles went off the ice-glazed road. Trooper Darren Vittum reported that no one was injured in the accidents that occurred shortly after 8 p.m., although both initially were reported as rollovers. Only one of the two vehicles, a Jeep Grand Cherokee, actually rolled onto its side after sliding off the road about 11/2 miles from the intersection of Route 180. The other car slid down an embankment.

The Jeep’s driver, William Sprague, 38, of Machias, and his 10-year-old son, Benjamin, were both walking around after the accident and drove off in the Jeep after a wrecker brought it back onto all four tires and used a tow line to pull it out from the embankment.

Minutes before the accident, nearby resident Kevin Batchelder, who is also an emergency medical technician, said he looked outside his home and thought he saw rain and then noticed the thermometer read 27 degrees.

“Rain and 27 degrees don’t make for a good mix,” Batchelder remembered thinking.

Only a section of Route 9 was affected, apparently the target of a quick storm that dropped rain before heading elsewhere. Vittum said the ice began at about Route 180 continued into Hancock County where officials were alerted of slick conditions and asked to block off the road.

Hours after a Monticello man was warned not to drive because he had been drinking, he was spotted by Bangor police heading south in the northbound lane of Hogan Road early Thursday morning.

Bangor police charged Troy R. Stackhouse, 22, with operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicants.

Security at Eastern Maine Technical College alerted police at 4 a.m. Thursday that two men were yelling outside the entrance to the college.

One of them was Stackhouse, who was given a warning and told not to drive because he had been drinking.

Two hours later, Officer Brian Nichols checked the area and came across Stackhouse’s black pickup truck as it was leaving the Exxon gas station. Nichols noted that it was headed in the wrong direction, into traffic, and that about a quarter of a mile after he put on his flashing blue lights, the pickup truck pulled over on the on ramp to Interstate 95.

Stackhouse admitted to drinking two beers since 2 a.m., although police later found five empty 12-packs of beer in the truck bed; a six-pack with two full beers left, as well as a bottle of spiced rum with only about a half-inch of the liquor remaining.

Nichols indicated that Stackhouse performed poorly on field sobriety tests and that he was unsteady on his feet and swayed. His eyes were glassy and bloodshot and his speech was slurred, Nichols reported. Stackhouse’s blood alcohol level registered 0.19 percent, more than twice the legal limit of 0.08 percent.

Stackhouse’s passenger wasn’t charged and was allowed to leave the scene.

– Compiled by NEWS reporter Doug Kesseli

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