First snow leads to many accidents

Kathy McCarty, Special to The County
14 years ago

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — The first snowstorms of the season left many drivers in need of a wrecker as slick roads were blamed for numerous accidents on Saturday. Intersections proved to be the site of the majority of accidents in the city. As one officer put it, the weekend storm created a “demolition derby” atmosphere on area roadways as drivers of cars, trucks and SUVs struggled to maintain control on slick roads.
The Presque Isle Police Department received their first accident report Saturday at around 7:46 a.m. The incident occurred at the intersection of Parsons and Park streets and involved a 2002 Ford Ranger driven by Richard S. Pallitto, 32, of Gray, and a 2007 Chevy Cavalier, operated by Cathy A. Finnemore, 44, of Presque Isle. Police confirmed it was a reportable crash (damage over $1,000), with Pallitto’s pick-up truck requiring a tow from Mike Cowett’s Auto Body.
At about 9:43 a.m., the PIPD responded to its second call — this time at the intersection of Academy and Main streets — involving a 2003 Chevy Cavalier operated by Rebecca St. John, 30, of Presque Isle and a 2004 Pontiac Grand Am driven by Kathy L. Barnes, 40, of Easton. The crash was reportable.
The third accident took place at the intersection of Academy and Dudley streets at about 9:58 a.m. Officer Rob Thibeault responded to find an unidentified operator had slid on wet pavement and gone off the road. While at the scene, Thibeault witnessed another accident on Academy.
Thibeault responded at approximately 9:58 a.m. to Academy and Second streets where Jesse D. Belmain, 26, of Presque Isle, operating a 2000 Dodge sports utility vehicle and traveling south, had failed to stop at the stop sign and struck a utility pole. The vehicle reportedly sustained damage but the pole was not damaged. The crash was reportable and Jerry’s responded to tow Belmain’s Dodge.
At 10:24 a.m., the PIPD responded to a tow-vehicle accident across town. Officer Kevin Schumacher responded to the intersection of Edgemont and Central drives, where a 1998 Ford truck operated by Timothy Golding, 21, of Presque Isle, and a 2001 Chevy SUV vehicle driven by Randall L. Carney, 41 (no town given), had been involved in a crash. Golding reportedly had been unable to stop at the stop sign on Edgemont and slid into the path of Carney. Carney reported knee pain and indicated he’d seek medical attention. The crash was reportable.
By 10:47 a.m., police were again called to another crash — this one on the Houlton Road. Border Patrol called to report a vehicle off the road on Clark Brook Hill, with no injuries but substantial damage to the vehicle. Just minutes later, around 10:57 a.m., the Border Patrol agent called again to report a second accident on the Houlton Road not far from the first. Sgt. Eric Erickson responded to investigate both incidents. No details were available at presstime.
At 11:01 a.m., another accident was reported at Academy and Second streets involving a vehicle striking the pole. Schumacher responded to find Ruth Brodsky, 66, of Presque Isle, had struck the same pole with her 1998 Honda SUV as Belmain had earlier in the day. Brodsky reportedly had been headed down Academy Street when she slid on wet pavement and lost control. Schumacher indicated it was reportable.
Details were unavailable at presstime on what may have been the worst accident of the day. At about 11:21 a.m., as Sgt. Erickson and Officer Thibeault were covering two accidents on the Houlton Road, they witnessed a third accident involving a Jeep traveling north that went off the road and rolled over. No serious injuries were reported. The incident was reportable.
Shortly after noon, Thibeault responded to an accident on Academy Street involving Mark Toothaker, 53, of Augusta, and Erika McGann, 43, of Presque Isle. The accident was non-reportable and the parties exchanged insurance information.
At 2:18 p.m., Schumacher responded to an accident on the Centerline Road that involved a driver’s ed car from Mars Hill. Driving instructor Roger Gagnon reported one of his students (two 15-year-old females were reportedly in the car) had slid off the road and struck a mailbox on Centerline Road Extension. The accident was reportable but no one was injured.
Thibeault was called to the Reach Road around 4:33 p.m. in reference to a vehicle rollover involving a 1995 Chevy S-10 operated by Steven Brelsford, 39, of Rumford. Crown Ambulance and first responders were dispatched. No serious injuries were reported. The accident was reportable and Cowett’s was called to tow the truck.
The last accident Saturday occurred around 7 p.m. on the Caribou Road. Officer Lynn Hartley handled the call, involving Jayson M. Stickney, 35, of Presque Isle, who had gone off the road near the radio station. No injuries were reported. The vehicle sustained driver-side damage and Jerry’s wrecker service was requested. Stickney sustained a minor injury due to broken glass.
Police encourage drivers to use caution now that winter conditions have arrived: allow plenty of time to reach your destination, clear windows and lights properly for better visibility, reduce speed according to road conditions and carry emergency supplies in case of a breakdown or accident.