THE FORKS — The driver of a logging truck was killed in a crash Thursday morning when his tractor-trailer veered off U.S. Route 201 and into a pond in The Forks, officials said. 

Rescue workers were called to Martin Pond, near the Northern Outdoors resort, after the crash occurred at about 4 a.m., according to Chief Deputy Mike Mitchell of the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office.

“It’s a fatal crash,” Mitchell said. “This is a tractor-trailer truck with logs on it and it’s upside-down, so logs are spilled all over the water, and you could see part of the truck sticking up out of the water.”

The 1994 Kenworth tractor-trailer that Pierre Alexander Drolet, 35, of Saint-Zacharie, Quebec, was driving when he crashed Thursday morning into Martin Pond in The Forks. Chief Deputy Mike Mitchell of the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office says rescue workers were searching Thursday for Drolet’s body. Officials say they believe Drolet was alone inside the truck when the crash occurred. Somerset County Sheriff’s Office photo

The driver’s identity was confirmed as Pierre Alexander Drolet, 35, of Saint-Zacharie, Quebec, according to Mitchell.

Drolet was traveling southbound, having crossed over the Canadian border at about 2 a.m., Mitchell said.

While the accident’s cause was still under investigation Thursday, Mitchell said he suspected it was caused by the winter storm that swept through central Maine on Wednesday night.


The area had received between 8 to 10 inches of snow by Thursday morning, and winds were gusting to 40 mph, according to Jerry Combs, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Gray.

“It was whiteout conditions,” Mitchell said. “He probably didn’t realize he’s not on the straight stretch. There’s a corner there and he drove right straight into the pond.”

A photograph of the crash scene showed the truck had gone through ice on the pond’s surface, which Mitchell said was hampering recovery efforts.

“It’s hard to pull (a truck) out when it’s starting to freeze over,” he said. “It’s still real cold up there, and obviously you’re not gonna want to go in that cold water.”

U.S. 201 was closed intermittently throughout the day, Mitchell said, as a specialized tow truck was called in from Bangor to pull the truck out of the pond. Crews from the Maine State Police were on hand to assist with recovering the driver and debris from the crash.

The road was reopened at about 3:30 p.m. Thursday, according to nearby residents, although Mitchell said it was one lane only.

Drolet’s 1994 Kenworth was pulled out of Martin Pond at about 4:15 p.m. Thursday, Mitchell said, as rescue crews continued looking to retrieve his body. Officials said they believe Drolet was alone inside the truck when the crash occurred.

After initial searches determined Drolet’s body was not inside the truck’s cab, Mitchell said state police divers were deployed to retrieve the body. Crews were still working to recover Drolet’s body as of 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Mitchell said.

“The truck is submerged,” Mitchell said. “Our hope was that if there was going to be a fatality, that the body would be contained within the cab. But I’ve been notified that the driver was not in the truck. This is not going to be an easy project.”

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