The Republican candidate for Maine’s Senate District 26 seat was in critical condition Thursday night in a hospital in Lewiston, four days after losing control of his motorcycle and being hit by a pickup truck.

Stuart “Toby” Pennels, 55, of Casco was riding south on Route 4 in Sandy River Plantation, south of Rangeley, with two other bikers around 3:40 p.m. Sunday when he lost control of his Harley-Davidson on a sharp curve.

Pennels’ motorcycle started to slide into the northbound lane and into the path of an oncoming GMC Sierra 1500 pickup truck, said state Trooper David Powser.

The driver of the truck, Eric McLean, 36, of Rumford, slowed down in an effort to avoid hitting Pennels, but Pennels “leaped” off his motorcycle and was “partially” run over by the truck, Powser said. His motorcycle missed the truck and kept going for about 600 feet.

Pennels, who was wearing a helmet, suffered severe chest and shoulder injuries, Powser said. He was airlifted by LifeFlight helicopter to Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston, where a hospital spokeswoman said he was in critical condition Thursday night.

“We are hoping for a full and speedy recovery,” said David Sorenson, spokesman for the Maine Senate Republicans and the Republican Party, on Thursday night. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”

Sorenson said there has been no talk about replacing Pennels on the Nov. 4 ballot.

Pennels was approved as the Republican Party candidate for Senate District 26 late last month after David Call, who ran in the June primary, withdrew.

Pennels is on the ballot against Democrat Bill Diamond. District 26 covers Baldwin, Casco, Frye Island, Raymond and Standish.

Pennels served in the Army and the Army Reserves, according to a profile provided by the state Republican Party. He completed three tours in Iraq, including 32 months in a combat zone. During his last tour, he commanded a brigade in Baghdad. Pennels retired from the Army as a colonel.

Pennels was active in the Windham community before his family moved recently to Casco. He served 12 years on the Windham-Raymond school board, serving as chairman, vice chairman and chairman of the Finance Committee.

Pennels is married and the couple has three adult children. He owns Penn Investment Services and specializes in long-term growth and stock portfolio management.

His family has set up a website on (Toby’s Journey of Hope) to keep his friends and family updated on his condition. The website also serves as a place where people can share their thoughts and offer support.

“We are still patiently waiting for him to wake up and smile at us, and we know he will in his own time,” said his wife, Brenda, in a note posted Thursday night on the website.

Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at:

[email protected]

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