Thursday, December 12, 2013
LEBANON — A stretch of Carl Broggi Highway in East Lebanon where 10 people were injured Thursday in a four-vehicle crash has been the site of 17 other crashes since 2007, including one fatality, according to state records.
One of the vehicles in Thursday's crash on Carl Broggi Highway in East Lebanon.
Lebanon Rescue Dept. photo
Thursday's crash occurred around 10:55 a.m. in front of the Trains Quick Stop Store at 245 Carl Broggi Highway, the same spot where another four-vehicle crash in July 2012 killed one person and injured 10, said Chief Samantha Cole, head of the Lebanon Rescue Department, in a statement.
"We have seen many serious accidents along this stretch of road, and we have expressed concerns about the safety of this stretch," Cole said.
The Maine Department of Transportation has collected data since 2007 on the crashes that occurred on that eight-tenths of a mile stretch of straight, double-lane roadway on Carl Broggi Highway, also known as Route 11, between Creamery Hill Road and Upper Middle Road.
There have been two or three crashes there each year, putting it on the cusp of being considered a "high-crash location," according to DOT spokesman Ted Talbot.
"What we try to categorize is any more than three crashes per year pushes it up high-crash location," Talbot said. "At that point, we can start reviewing some traffic calming measures."
Often towns will initiate the process, asking DOT to do a traffic study at locations with many crashes. Possible actions the DOT could take include changing road striping and signs or reducing the speed limit, he said.
The speed limit where Thursday's crash occurred is 55 mph, but the limit drops to 45 mph farther south approaching the New Hampshire border, according to Maine State Police.
Cole was the first emergency worker to arrive at Thursday's crash. She identified the four vehicles involved as two cars -- a Chrysler Pacifica and a Honda Del Sol -- a motorcycle and a Ford commercial pickup truck hauling a trailer.
Because of the number of people injured in the crash, two ambulances from Sanford and one from North Berwick responded to help Lebanon Rescue's crews.
Of those injured, seven people were transported to area hospitals. None of the injuries was believed to be life-threatening.
Lynn Mullins, a cashier at Trains Quick Stop Store, said she saw part of Thursday's crash as it was happening outside the store on her break.
Her distant relative, 102-year-old Walter Rand, died of his injuries following a crash at that same spot on July 22, 2012.
"This route is just dangerous," said Mullins, adding that motorists regularly speed along that stretch of the highway.
State records indicate that motorists' failure to yield also has contributed to many of the accidents in the area.
Mullins said she watched Thursday as a man and a woman on the motorcycle approached the other crashed vehicles, first braking hard before sliding along the roadway and coming to a stop in the store's driveway.
"I was terrified," said Mullins, 35. "Seeing the motorcycle go down was the worst thing I've seen in my life. When they landed, they were skidding for quite a while."
The 54-year-old man and 49-year-old woman on the motorcycle, both of Saco, were taken to Goodall Hospital in Sanford to be treated.
Four of the six people in the Chrysler Pacifica, the 16-year-old male driver and three other children, ages 13, 11 and 7, were taken to Frisbie Memorial Hospital in Rochester, N.H.
The 22-year-old male driver of the Honda Del Sol was alone in his car at the time of the crash. He was taken to Goodall Hospital.
The driver of the commercial truck was shaken up but not hurt.
All the vehicles involved had heavy damage. The Pacifica, the Honda and the motorcycle were all towed from the scene. The commercial truck was driven up the road to be checked on by company officials and possibly towed.
Carl Broggi Highway remained closed to all traffic for about 40 minutes after Thursday's crash. All lanes were opened shortly after noon.
Scott Dolan can be contacted at: 791-6304 or at: