After swerving off Interstate 295 northbound in Bowdoinham on Wednesday morning, a tractor-trailer carrying a load of butter came to rest deep in a wooded section of the median area. It took crews almost nine hours to remove the vehicle. In the process, they found another abandoned vehicle on its roof in the median area. The incident forced officials to limit traffic to one lane for several hours.  (Darcie Moore / The Times Record)

After swerving off Interstate 295 northbound in Bowdoinham on Wednesday morning, a tractor-trailer carrying a load of butter came to rest deep in a wooded section of the median area. It took crews almost nine hours to remove the vehicle. In the process, they found another abandoned vehicle on its roof in the median area. The incident forced officials to limit traffic to one lane for several hours. (Darcie Moore / The Times Record)

BOWDOINHAM — The driver of a tractor-trailer truck that veered off Interstate 295 and crashed into trees Wednesday morning wasn’t injured, but it took recovery workers most of the day to pull the truck from the wooded median area and haul away the damaged vehicle.

Pictured: Leonard Skelton III, a member of the Bowdoinham Fire Department, cuts up a tree blocking the exit of the tractor-trailer truck from the wooded I-295 median.   (Darcie Moore / The Times Record)

Pictured: Leonard Skelton III, a member of the Bowdoinham Fire Department, cuts up a tree blocking the exit of the tractor-trailer truck from the wooded I-295 median. (Darcie Moore / The Times Record)

The crash was reported at about 8:20 a.m. State Trooper Niles Krech said the driver was 41-year-old Kevin Bryant of Chicopee, Mass.

At 5:27 p.m. Wednesday,  crews from Hunter’s and Greeley’s towing services prepare to haul the badly damaged cab and tractor-trailer away from the crash site near mile marker 40 on Interstate 295 in Bowdoinham. At left, workers repair damage caused when the tractor-trailer careened off Interstate 295.   (Darcie Moore / The Times Record)

At 5:27 p.m. Wednesday, crews from Hunter’s and Greeley’s towing services prepare to haul the badly damaged cab and tractor-trailer away from the crash site near mile marker 40 on Interstate 295 in Bowdoinham. At left, workers repair damage caused when the tractor-trailer careened off Interstate 295. (Darcie Moore / The Times Record)

Krech said police believe Bryant fell asleep while driving in the traveling lane, crossed into the passing lane, through steel guardrails and down over the embankment into the trees.

Pictured: workers repair damage caused when the tractor-trailer careened off Interstate 295.   (Darcie Moore / The Times Record)

Pictured: workers repair damage caused when the tractor-trailer careened off Interstate 295. (Darcie Moore / The Times Record)

Krech said Bryant did not seem injured but was transported to Mid Coast Hospital in Brunswick for follow-up. After being checked, Bryant was released from the hospital.

Krech did not issue charges to Bryant, who was driving an A-C Motor Express truck out of West Springfield, Mass. He was headed for Augusta loaded with 41,000 pounds of salted butter contained in boxes labeled Pure Creamy Butter.

Investigators from the Maine State Police commercial vehicle enforcement unit were on scene during the day but would not release any information about whether they issued charges.

Hunter’s Truck and Tire Service from Lisbon Falls arrived on scene shortly after the crash was reported. Working with members of the Bowdoinham and Richmond fire departments, Hunter’s employees attempted to clear a path to the crashed vehicle.

Leonard Skelton III of Bowdoinham used a chainsaw to cut small trees blocking access to the truck, and Hunter’s employees used a heavy-duty strap to winch down a tall pine tree that the truck snapped. The tree blocked removal of the truck. 

By around 11 a.m., Hunter’s was able to pull the loaded truck a short distance but, due to the damage to the truck and soft ground conditions, the truck would move no further. 

Hunter’s called for reinforcement and was aided by Greeley’s Garage in Auburn, which sent a tow truck, a refrigerated tractor-trailer truck and a skid steer with a fork lift attachment.

An estimated 19 pallets of butter on the truck had shifted and twisted during the crash. Recovery crews fought against gravity to unload each pallet with the skid steer and move it to another truck.

The butter was loaded onto another A-C Motor Express truck that arrived on scene. The damaged truck’s refrigeration unit was still functioning to help keep the butter cold.

Franki Delaney of the Department of Environmental Protection’s oil and hazardous material response unit was on scene all day as well. The DEP called in a crew from CleanHarbors Environmental Services, which used a high-powered vacuum truck to remove the diesel-contaminated soil that would be taken to Commercial Paving and Recycling Center in Scarborough to be recycled, according to Delaney.

Depending on how much fuel the Volvo truck had burned since leaving Massachusetts, she estimated about 75 to 100 gallons may have spilled. A small stream nearby did not appear affected in any way, she said.

The truck became lighter after the butter was unloaded. At about 4:45 p.m., Hunter’s was able to hook on and pull the truck out from the woods so a Greeley’s truck could hook onto the front and pull the front end of the truck up onto the road.

Intermittently through the day, the fire department stopped northbound traffic completely on the highway, which during the commuting hours backed up traffic for miles. One passing car had to be pushed out of the single traffic lane because of a steaming radiator.

[email protected]

 


Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: