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Speed at fault for Falls Hill crash
RUMFORD- A Friday morning crash at the bottom of Falls Hill in Rumford sent a truck driver to the hospital and business owners cleaning up yet another mess from the common crash site.
Rumford Police Sgt. Tracey Higley stated that illegal unsafe speed and load shift were at fault.
Danny Long, Jr., a truck driver for A&B Forestry of Andover lost control of his loaded log truck as he traveled up Falls Hill. The load of 12-foot length firewood finally came to rest scattered in front of Frost Motor Supply and into the side parking lot, with one log sticking out the window after coming to rest on the counter of the auto supply store.
Traffic was rerouted through South Rumford for three hours while the site was investigated and cleaned up.
Marks could be seen from the stop sign at the bottom of Swain Road where the steel from the wheels started digging into the pavement. Sgt. Higley noted that the truck was already turning on to its side as it approached that intersection.
At the time of the 7:15 a.m. crash Frost Motor Supply had not yet opened for business and the tenants in the upstairs apartment had already left for the day.
“We installed barriers about 10 years ago,” noted owner Kenneth Briggette. “We've seen it all; chips, logs, lumber and gravel. They just go too fast on this corner.”
With the front of the store receiving the hardest blow, there were several bricks displaced and windows shattered, but the barrier prevented the logs from collapsing the storefront.
A look at the inside of the building revealed a frightening site, as anyone who may have been on the inside at the time of the crash would have been seriously injured by the 12-foot long log crashing through the window and into the counter.
“It could be worse, there could have been someone in here,” noted Briggette. “I've had plenty of phone calls from other loggers offering to help with clean up if we needed it. That's the good thing about living in a small town.”
A&B Forestry called in another truck and a loader to clean up the logs and pull the truck upright.
Adam Gammon, who owns A&B Forestry with his brother Stacy, stated that there was nothing mechanically wrong with the truck or trailer. It cleared inspection by local and State Police.
Of his truck driver, Gammon noted, “He's pretty beat up. His head bounced off the dash of the truck and he's got quite a few stitches and a concussion.”
Long was treated at Rumford Hospital and released. There was no indication that Long was under the influence, therefore drug/alcohol testing was not performed.
Sgt. Higley stated that there was approximately $70,000 worth of damage to the truck, trailer, road, political signs and the store property.
“Of all the accidents the department has had to handle, this was the smoothest one I've seen. Everything went well with the State Police, Med-Care, the highway department and Kenrick Thibodeau giving us a hand getting things cleaned up pretty quickly. They all helped make a good experience out of a bad situation.”
Sgt. Higley noted that this was the fourth accident he's seen in that area since he came on the force in 1994.
The speed limit for a passenger vehicle is 25 miles per hour through that section of town in order to safely maneuver the corner. Sgt. Higley noted that commercial vehicles need to be more aware that they are held to a different speed for safety reasons.
“Large commercial trucks hauling full loads of material through there and going 25 mph is just not safe,” noted Sgt. Higley.