Monday, March 21, 2016

Fatal Crash in Washington - March 18, 2016

Just before 5:00 p.m., Friday (March 18) afternoon, Knox County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to a call of a serious crash on the Augusta Rd. (Rt. 17), near Fitch Rd. in Washington.  Knox County Regional Communications Center had received information that multiple vehicles involved, including a tractor-trailer and that wires were down.

Upon arrival, Deputies found 5 vehicles had been involved in the crash and one was still burning.   It appears as though a 1998 Freightliner, loaded with a flatbed of lumber was traveling west on the Augusta Rd in Washington.  The other four vehicles involved were all traveling east on the Augusta Rd. The Freightliner, operated by Randall Weddle, 53, of Greenville, Tennessee trailer portion of the truck began to slide into the opposing lane while rounding a right hand corner just west of the Fitch Rd. intersection. The Freightliner began to roll over on to the left side as it continued to go around the corner. As it rolled, three of the four vehicles heading in the opposite direction were unable to avoid being hit by the trailer. The first vehicle hit, a 2009 Chevrolet Colorado, driven by Paul Fowles, 74, of Owls Head, went off the roadway to the right after being struck on the left side and came to rest in a distance off the road down an embankment. The next vehicle in line, a 2014 Nissan, driven by Tracy Cook, 51, of Union was also struck by the trailer and went off the roadway to the right. Cooks vehicle rolled over once and struck the following vehicle, a 2015 Kia, driven by Tracy Morgan, 33, of Washington, before coming to rest on its wheels in the field off the road. Morgan was able to avoid being struck by the trailer after she took evasive action to avoid the truck. Morgan’s Kia was struck by the Nissan as it rolled over and the Kia also came to final rest in the field. A 1998 Chrysler van was struck by the trailer and the load of lumber being hauled by the truck. The Chrysler was pushed back into the field and burst into flames. The Freightliner rolled onto its roof and continued to slide on its roof down the road before going off the left hand side of the roadway.  The Freightliner came to rest down another embankment between the road and the field. 

Tracy Morgan was uninjured in the crash.  Tracy Cook was taken by ambulance to a local hospital as well as a passenger in the Freightliner, Lowell Babb, 32, of Virginia.  The operator of the Freightliner, Mr. Weddle, was taken by Life-flight to Central Maine Medical Center.  All were non-life threatening injuries.  It took crews over an hour to extricate Mr. Weddle out of the cab of the truck. 

Mr. Paul Fowles, of Owls Head was pronounced dead at the scene as was the operator of the Chrysler van.  The operator of the van’s name cannot be released by this office as a confirmation of the identity will have to be made by the Maine Medical Examiner’s Office due to the extent of burns received.  That will be done as soon as possible. 

Crews remained on-scene until 2:30 a.m. cleaning up debris and getting the vehicles to a secure location.  Fairpoint and Central Maine Power will come back later in the morning to repair the lines and the pole that was destroyed in the crash.  Power was initially shut off to an extensive area until crews arrived shortly after the crash to localize power failure. 

The Knox County Sheriff’s Office, Waldo County Sheriff’s Office, and the Maine State Police Reconstruction, Mapping, and Commercial Truck Enforcement units will continue to investigate the crash in the days to come to try to figure out what exactly happened. 

Fire Departments and Emergency Medical Crews responded quickly from Washington, Jefferson, Somerville, and Union to extinguish the fire and provide care to the victims.


No comments:

Post a Comment