July 3, 2012

Trooper's response to wrong-way driver to be reviewed

Douglas Cropper's supervisor says he sees no error in the trooper's rush to block a driver going the wrong way on I-295.

By David Hench dhench@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

click image to enlarge

Trooper Doug Cropper’s cruiser rests at the I-295 crossover after it was hit Friday by a Toyota Corolla being driven north in a southbound lane by a 88-year-old Scarborough man. Cropper intentionally blocked the errant car so as to potentially avert worse accidents.

Courtesy photo

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Gill's Toyota slammed into the cruiser. Cropper estimates it was going 45 mph. Neither man was seriously injured.

The collision likely prevented a much more serious crash.

Chouinard, who was headed to Old Orchard Beach with his wife, Edris, for an early celebration of their wedding anniversary, said, "(Cropper) come flying off the other entrance and pulled right in front of us with blue lights. We had to slam on our brakes not to crash into" the cruiser.

"We didn't even notice the other car until it hit him," Chouinard said Monday.

His wife was driving their 1984 Mercury Marquis, which had new brake pads because he had replaced them that week.

"Every now and again, I keep crying about it," Edris Chouinard said of their ordeal. "I'm just so glad we're alive. (Cropper) saved our life. He's awesome."

Police believe Gill entered the interstate at Exit 5 in Portland, which connects to Congress Street and the transportation hub on Sewall Street. Nichols said he did not know -- and Gill did not know -- which ramp Gill used to get on the southbound lanes headed north.

Gill said he was going north to pay his water bill in Waterville. Nichols said he didn't determine whether Gill has property in Waterville or his account was an indication of his confusion.

Cropper opted not to charge Gill.

"That's Doug's decision," Nichols said. "He didn't charge him, and I agree with him. He's old and he was obviously confused."

Police will report the incident to the Secretary of State's Office, which determines whether to revoke someone's driver's license.

"We certainly could charge (Gill). I don't know what purpose that would serve," Nichols said. "He told me he's done driving."

Staff Writer David Hench can be contacted at 791-6327 or at: dhench@pressherald.com

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