January 2

Madawaska driver disappears over guardrail in Gardiner

Aroostook County man unhurt when truck is launched over guardrail and down an embankment too steep to climb.

By Craig Crosby ccrosby@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

GARDINER — Police say a Madawaska man was fortunate to escape injury Thursday after the pickup truck he was driving was launched over a guardrail and down a steep embankment on the Interstate 295 on-ramp.

click image to enlarge

HIGH AND TIGHT: State Trooper Chris Rogers watches as AC Towing pulls a pickup driven by Paul Dubois of Madawaska over a guardrail Thursday at the on-ramp for the northbound lane of Interstate 295 in Gardiner. Dubois’ vehicle came to rest several feet down a steep embankment after going over a guardrail in the snow, Rogers said. Two wreckers from AC Towing worked for more than an hour in sub-zero temperatures to pull the pickup back onto the road. Dubois was not injured.

Staff photo by Andy Molloy

Paul Dubois, 48, was not hurt in the crash, but was stranded in his truck in sub-freezing temperatures, said Trooper Christopher Rogers of the Maine State Police.

The crash occurred around 1:40 p.m. as Dubois drove his 2009 GMC Sierra pickup truck on the on-ramp from Route 201 to head north on Interstate 295. Rogers said Dubois, who was driving too fast for the snowy conditions, lost control of his truck when it hit a patch of ice. The truck skidded into a snowbank, which launched the truck over the guardrail and approximately 20 yards down an embankment.

Dubois was able to get out of the truck, but he was unable to climb the ice and snow covered bank to get back to the road, Rogers said.

“It’s very steep,” Rogers said. “I don’t think he could have made it up to the road.”

The truck was invisible to passing traffic. Rogers, responding to the call for help Dubois made with his cellphone, said he only found the crash when he noticed the disturbance in the snowbank.

“A Department of Transportation plow truck might have seen him, but someone driving down the road wouldn’t have,” Rogers said.

Rogers said it was fortunate that Dubois was not injured and was able to call for help, particularly in light of the sub-zero temperatures.

“It’s lucky he had his seat belt on,” Rogers said.

It took two tow trucks about 90 minutes to pull Dubois’ truck back up the hill, over the guardrail and back onto the on-ramp. The truck’s only damage was a broken fog light and flat tire, Rogers said.

“They’ll change the tire and he’ll be headed home,” Rogers said.

Rogers urged drivers to drive with more caution when roads are blanketed by snow and ice.

“When it comes to these conditions, you have to give yourself more time to slow down,” Rogers said.

Craig Crosby — 621-5642ccrosby@centralmaine.com

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