Sunday, February 17, 2008

Fortean twist to destructive Portage accident

Guest post by Loren Coleman!

This is an intriguing Fortean coincidence. The individuals who escaped injury as this tractor-trailer plowed into the motel and moved it four feet off its foundation, were three motor vehicle enforcement troopers! - Loren
Aroostook County
Truck destroys part of motel
Thursday, February 14, 2008 - Bangor Daily News
By Julia Bayly

PORTAGE, Maine — A tractor-trailer truck went out of control on Route 11 Wednesday morning and slid off the road into a motel.

According to a Maine State Police report, a 2007 International tractor-trailer truck driven by Michael Carpenter, 38, of Weston, New Brunswick, slid off Route 11 and across the parking lot into the eight-unit section of Dean’s Motor Lodge at about 6 a.m. Wednesday.

The police report said that three New Hampshire motor vehicle enforcement troopers had been occupying an upstairs room at the motel and escaped injury when they left just 15 minutes before the accident.

"Chances are [the troopers] would have been very seriously hurt if they had been in that room," Sgt. Julie Bergen of the Maine State Police said.

According to Bergen, Carpenter lost control on the snow-covered roads. The truck was not loaded at the time of the accident.

Carpenter, who suffered minor cuts and scrapes in the accident, was charged with driving to endanger. The speed limit on that portion of Route 11 in Portage is 25 mph.

Both the building and truck were declared total losses, according to Bergen. The building was valued at $100,000 while the truck’s worth was estimated at $115,000.

The building, which is a separate structure from the motel’s main lodge and dining area, was moved four feet off the foundation by the impact.

Carolyn Rowe, co-owner of Coffin’s Store directly across Route 11 from Dean’s, said the accident had "just been waiting to happen."
Rowe said she and other Portage residents for years have been lobbying the Maine Department of Transportation for a stop sign to be placed at the intersection of Route 11 and the West Cottage Road.

The area of Portage proper where both Dean’s and Coffin’s are located is in a natural bowl formation. The road leading in and out of town is steep, and Rowe said drivers do not always pay attention to the posted speed limit.

"Trucks come through town going 60, 70 or 80 miles per hour," Rowe said. "The [snowmobile] trail intersects across the road, and someday someone is going to be killed."

In addition, the West Cottage Road leads to a working lumber mill and the entrance to the Maine North Woods.

"It’s always a problem area," Rowe said. "Sooner or later, someone is going to land in our front door."

A stop sign would force all vehicles, including the large trucks, to slow and stop, Rowe said.

"So far, the state has done nothing," she said. "They refuse to put up a stop sign."
Despite the posted speed limit, car and truck traffic rarely slows to below 40 or 50 mph as it flows through town, Sinclair said.
Efforts to contact anyone at Dean’s Motor Lodge or the Portage town office were unsuccessful as the accident downed power and phone lines.
Read full article here: [Source]
Photo by Barbara Pitcairn for Bangor Daily News

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