October 29, 2013

Maine driver killed by logging truck left it in neutral

Police say Michael Morin also failed to set the parking brake on his 60,000-pound vehicle.

By DOUG HARLOW Morning Sentinel

SKOWHEGAN — An Oakland truck driver who was killed Monday when his loaded logging truck rolled over him before crashing into a restaurant had left his truck in neutral gear with the parking brake off, police said Tuesday.

click image to enlarge

MAN’S BEST FRIEND: A photo of truck driver Mike Morin’s Pomeranian dog is on the side of his truck. Morin was killed when the truck rolled over him before crashing into the Pizza Hut restaurant in Skowhegan on Monday.

Staff photo by David Leaming

click image to enlarge

Firefighters, state police and Skowhegan Police Chief Ted Blais, second from left, investigate the scene where a truck loaded with logs crashed into the Pizza Hut restaurant in Skowhegan, killing driver Michael Morin of Oakland.

David Leaming/Morning Sentinel

Michael Morin, 59, had parked his 60,000-pound truck in the Pizza Hut parking lot and went to have lunch about 10:55 a.m. just minutes before the restaurant opened for the day. The truck rolled, striking Morin before crashing into the building, heavily damaging the entrance and take-out area.

No one else was hurt.

A Maine State Police driver and vehicle examination report showed the brakes and other operations of the commercial vehicle had been up to standard with no violations other than an underinflated tire on the truck’s second axle, according to the report.

Police said that when they went to move the truck, they found the key outside the vehicle and the parking brakes off.

The wrecker driver who assisted in moving the heavy truck told police that the truck was in neutral, according to the report’s officer notes, which are not signed.

The truck has an automatic transmission and the brakes otherwise appeared to be functioning properly, according to the officer notes. The official report was prepared by Trooper Mark Barney after the police investigation.

The state police reports were released to Skowhegan police Chief Ted Blais, who, in turn, released the reports’ contents Tuesday.

A 2-year-old Pomeranian dog that was with Morin in the truck was not injured and was taken in by a former hunting and fishing companion, said Morin’s brother, Francis Morin, 63, of Fairfield.

Morin said his brother and the little dog were constant companions. He said his brother liked the dog so much he had the canine’s likeness painted on the side doors of his logging truck.

“Mike was a good man,” Francis said. “He was a true woodsman, a true lumberman.”

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

dharlow@centralmaine.com

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