October 28, 2012

Wild Hallowell accident leaves two injured

Truck careens down Winthrop and Water streets, pushes parked car into park, fells lamppost

By Keith Edwards kedwards@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

HALLOWELL -- Two people were injured when their pickup truck sped out of control down steep Winthrop Street, across a Water Street intersection often packed with cars and pedestrians, and into a parked car, which was launched across the sidewalk and into a small city park Saturday afternoon.

click image to enlarge

Hallowell police and firefighters clean up at the scene of an accident on this afternoon at the corner of Water and Winthrop Streets in downtown Hallowell. The pickup truck, front left, was traveling down hill on Winthrop Street when it struck a parked vehicle, top, which was then slammed into a sign board. The truck also knocked over a light post before stopping in the sidewalk. Two people in the truck were injured.

Staff photo by Joe Phelan

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Police and witnesses said it could have been far, far worse.

"We were extremely fortunate. As bad as the accident was, it could have been a very severe crash," Hallowell Police Sgt. Chris Hutchings said at the crash scene. "This is a very busy road, especially this time of day, with pedestrians crossing and walking in the area."

The injured were Miranda Silver, 27, of Livermore Falls, and Bryan Armstrong, 26, of Augusta. Hutchings said they were both taken by ambulance to Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston. He said he was not sure how badly injured the pair was.

Silver was behind the wheel of her black 1998 Dodge Ram 1500 pickup truck, which Hutchings said appeared to have been traveling at a high rate of speed -- he estimated between 45 and 50 mph -- in the 25-mph zone, down Winthrop Street.

The truck left its travel lane, leaving black tire marks starting about 100 feet up Winthrop hill, went into the oncoming lane, across both lanes of Water Street and into a parked, empty Subaru Outback about 3 p.m. on the river side of Water Street.

Both vehicles appeared to be heavily damaged in the accident.

The Subaru is owned by David Bustin, 74, who was upstairs in his adjacent Water Street residence, just starting to watch a football game on television with his daughter.

"We heard this horrible screaming of tires sound and then a really loud bang," Bustin said. "Then another bang. We ran down, and somebody was already tending to the (truck's occupants). Luckily, nobody was driving or walking by (on Water Street) right then."

Hutchings said authorities don't yet know why the truck went through the intersection. He said the investigation would include a mechanical inspection of the truck.

Hallowell firefighters provided traffic control and Augusta Fire and Rescue responded to treat the accident victims.

Bustin's Subaru was bounced into a kiosk in front of a bandstand area, scattering fliers, glass, wood and other debris across the small park in front of the bandstand. The truck also took out a large metal light pole, which Central Maine Power Co. workers disconnected.

Sam Webber, the city's historian, who happened to be at the scene, said the intersection has a long history of vehicles going out of control on the hill and crashing, often into Water Street buildings.

Keith Edwards — 621-5647


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