Tuesday, May 21, 2013
By Craig Crosby firstname.lastname@example.org
HALLOWELL -- Faulty brakes are likely to blame for a weekend downtown crash that left two people injured, police said.
Hallowell police and firefighters clean up at the scene of an accident Sunday afternoon at the corner of Water and Winthrop Streets in downtown Hallowell.
Staff file photo by Joe Phelan
The driver told police she couldn’t stop her pickup truck as it barreled down Winthrop Street on Saturday and plowed into a parked car on Water Street.
“It sounds like sometime coming down Winthrop Street that the brakes were not operational,” Police Chief Eric Nason said. “At this point it’s consistent with what we suspected.”
No charges have been filed in connection with the accident, although police are still investigating, Nason said.
The driver, Miranda Silver, 27, of Livermore Falls, and her passenger, 26-year-old Bryan Armstrong, of Augusta, were both treated at Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston and released.
Armstrong, who said Silver is a friend, said he suffered a broken knee cap that will require him to use crutches for at least the next month, and a rib injury. Silver suffered bruises on her face and burns on her arms from the airbag, Armstrong said.
Armstrong said both he and Silver were wearing seat belts. Doctors and friends urged Silver to take time off from work as a certified nurses aid to recover, even though she was determined to get back on the job.
“She loves her patients,” Armstrong said.
Nason said Silver’s pickup truck, a 1998 Dodge Ram 1500, had a valid inspection sticker.
The crash badly damaged the pickup and the car that it hit, a parked Subaru Outback owned by state Senate candidate and former Hallowell mayor David Bustin. The impact launched the car into a kiosk in front of the bandstand area, and the pickup truck caromed into a metal light pole, flattening it.
Silver provided police with an insurance card. Nason said police have not yet confirmed the insurance is valid.
The accident occurred around 3 p.m. as Silver and Armstrong drove east on Winthrop Street.
“We lost our brakes at the top of the hill,” Armstrong said Monday. “We could not stop so we gained speed all down the hill.”
Armstrong said they tried putting the automatic transmission truck in park and then tried reverse.
Nothing slowed the progress as they raced down the street, which is lined on both sides with houses.
At one point the truck rushed up behind a vehicle traveling in the same direction and had to swerve to pass it. Armstrong said the truck was moving at more than 55 mph, more than double the 25 mph limit, by the time it reached the bottom of the hill and the Water Street intersection.
Armstrong said Silver couldn’t control the truck.
“I grabbed the steering wheel at the bottom of the hill so we didn’t hit anybody,” Armstrong said. “If I hadn’t turned it the way I did we would have hit a car head on.”
The truck raced across the typically crowded intersection and into Bustin’s car, which was parked on the east side of Water Street. Bustin was upstairs in his Water Street residence at the time.
“I can tell you right now I’ve never been more scared in my life,” Armstrong said.
Armstrong said he recently changed rotors, calipers and pads on all four wheels of the truck, and doesn’t know why the brakes failed.
“The brakes have been working fine,” he said. “I’m just glad nobody got killed.”
Craig Crosby -- 621-5642