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Potato truck collides with tractor trailer on U.S. Route 1A

MARS HILL, Maine — A tractor trailer and potato truck collided Wednesday evening, spilling a load of potatoes on U.S. Route 1A.

According to Cpl. Corey Hafford of the Maine State Police Troop F division, Ryan Hallett, 30, of Houlton was driving north on Route 1A in a 1989 Freightliner potato truck loaded with product around 7:30 p.m. when he had to swerve to avoid a tractor trailer that was backing into the roadway.

“Hallett attempted to swerve to the right side of the roadway, but he could only swerve so far as there was a guardrail on that side of the road,” Cpl. Hafford said.

Hallett’s potato truck impacted the rear trailer of 2007 Volvo tractor trailer operated by Robert Craig, 62, of Mars Hill. The impact significantly damaged the underneath of Hallett’s truck.

Craig was hauling a flatbed trailer partially loaded with lumber when he had pulled into the driveway of the Kearny Pallet Inc. business. He was attempting to back up part way into the road to be able to adjust his truck’s position, and then pull ahead back into the driveway, police said.

After striking Craig’s trailer, Hallett’s potato truck then impacted the right-hand side guardrail before traveling across the road and striking the opposite guardrail. The impact caused the bulk body and the load of potatoes to roll over the guardrail, and the potatoes fell down the embankment.

Officers called the Maine Department of Environmental Protection due to motor vehicle fluid that spilled onto the roadway, and for the dumped potatoes.

Route 1A was reduced to one lane of traffic for about 45 minutes to clear the road and remove the vehicles.

Police said they did not believe speed to be a factor. No injuries were reported and both drivers were wearing their safety belts. No charges were filed in the case.

The Aroostook County Sheriff’s Office assisted with the incident.

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