Spring brings a welcome respite for many in Maine who braved a bitter winter and are now looking forward to warmer days ahead. But for drivers, spring also brings what can be an unexpected hazard:  frost heaves.car accident

These are an uplift of water-soaked soil or other surface deposits that rise up due to expansion and freezing. In some cases, the rise can be so dramatic that it breaks through the pavement of the road, creating a major risk for drivers. Maine residents have given the road features many monikers:  asphalt crevasses, nature’s speed bumps, chuck holes, and paved divots. Although they regularly appear every spring season, they can still catch operators by surprise.

Continue reading

A mother and her three-year-old son lost their lives recently in New Portland after the mother failed to stop at a traffic sign and was struck by a school bus, officials say.

The 36-year-old mother and her young child were pronounced dead at the scene at an intersection on U.S. Route 2, shortly before 10 p.m. The bus was carrying a large group of students back from an earlier function. The students aboard the bus, while shaken, were not injured. Authorities were still investigating details, including possible contributing factors. Investigators say all they know for sure is the driver failed to stop at the stop sign. The intersection reportedly isn’t one known for crashes, and the speed limit is 55 mph, according to the Portland Press-Herald.school bus

Recently, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released figures from a decades-long analysis of school bus and school transportation-related crashes nationally. What they discovered was that from 2006 to 2015, there were 1,172 school transportation-related accidents. That amounts to 0.4 percent of the total fatal crashes, which numbered nearly 325,000.

Continue reading

Last summer, a 14-year-old boy from Berwick and his 16-year-old sister were passengers in the back seat of their father’s vehicle. They were headed for a camping trip for Father’s Day. Suddenly, while on a highway in Hampton, NH, another driver rear-ended them. The impact was severe. The driver had been distracted. brain injury

The girl suffered serious head and neck injuries, and the boy suffered severe head injuries. Doctors told the children’s mother he “wasn’t hopeful.” The boy had to undergo an emergency craniectomy, removing part of his skull to relieve the swelling. The teen who struck them, meanwhile, was charged with following too closely. He told WCSH-6 recently that he thinks about the crash every day, wishing he could go back and make different choices. He was just a kid, he said, and it was all a “complete accident.”

That doesn’t change the fact that the 14-year-old he hit is now in a state described as “minimally conscious.” He is unable to walk, talk, or eat on his own. No one is able to say when he will recover or if he will ever recover. All of his hopes and dreams and aspirations are, in all likelihood, dashed because someone took a moment to look at their radio. He now requires nurses, home health aides, and physical therapists. He is unable to communicate.

Continue reading

A judge has ordered a Maine man who crashed his vehicle in New Hampshire while high on heroin last summer to undergo a three-month drug rehabilitation program.heroin

Newburyport News reports the 24-year-old was removed from his smoking vehicle by a retired firefighter who happened to pass by after he had crashed into a cluster of trees. The driver suddenly awoke and told the good Samaritan he was fine, but the retired firefighter believed otherwise and summoned help. First responders found the man unconscious and not breathing so they administered an anti-opioid drug called Narcan to the driver. After he was stabilized, he was taken to a local hospital for treatment.

The story highlights what has been a growing problem nationally not just for health care providers and law enforcement, but for those who share the road with people under the influence. USA Today reported last year on federal data pointing to an alarming uptick in the percentage of traffic deaths attributed to drivers who tested positive for drugs over the last 10 years. There has been an overall upward trend in traffic fatalities in recent years, but the fact that the percentage of drivers testing positive for illicit and prescription drugs has increased points to this being a substantial part of the problem.  Continue reading

A recent spate of Maine snowmobile accidents have safety officials concerned. snowmobile

One tragic example was seen recently in Parlin Pond Township, where NBC-6 in Portland reports a 45-year-old Massachusetts woman was killed after running into a line of trees. At the time, she was leading a group of snowmobilers across an icy pond when she drifted to the left side and into the trees. Witnesses said she was thrown off the sled and landed head-first on the trail. Those who had been following her rushed to her aid and first responders arrived in minutes. Sadly, her injuries proved too severe and she was pronounced dead at the scene. She had been wearing a helmet, but authorities say speed may have been a factor.

That crash was one of several that happened just the first weekend of this month. Maine Game Wardens say there are a number of factors at play, including worsening trail conditions. Melting snowpack has led to exposed stumps, rocks and ice that can be treacherous for snowmobilers. That incident was the ninth death of a snowmobiler this season, the Game Wardens say.  Continue reading

A Maine woman has reportedly confessed to striking three pedestrians at a bus stop in New Hampshire, resulting in life-threatening injuries to each of those hit. crosswalk

According to WGME.com, the three pedestrians had just gotten off a bus stop and were crossing the street when a vehicle approached from a hill and struck all three. Witnesses at a nearby hotel opined the vehicle was traveling at least at the speed limit of 45 mph, if not faster. Two of those struck were a young couple who lived just across the street from where the crash happened. They were all three still in the road when first responders arrived. The driver of the vehicle fled the scene but later turned herself in to local authorities and confessed.

Pedestrian accidents are a serious problem in Maine and elsewhere in the country. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), pedestrian fatalities increased by 9.5 percent from 2014 to 2015 (the most recent year for which initial counts are available). That amounted to 466 more deaths in 2015 than the year before, which brought the final tally – 5,376 pedestrian accident deaths – to the highest it’s been since 1996.

Continue reading

A man who was allegedly drunk and speeding crossed the center line of a Maine roadway last month and crashed his car, killing a 38-year-old woman and inflicting severe traumatic brain injuries and neck injuries on her 16-year-old daughter. Authorities found cocaine and marijuana present in his system at the time of the deadly drunk driving crash. highway

While he awaits trial on charges of manslaughter, aggravated assault, and aggravated criminal operating under the influence of intoxicants, a Superior Court judge granted a motion for a $2 million attachment on his home and assets. The 28-year-old accused is out of jail on $10,000 bond and currently living in the home, valued at $236,000. If he is convicted on the criminal charges, he faces up to 30 years in prison, plus $50,000 in fines – and that is just on the manslaughter charges.

Meanwhile, as the 16-year-old girl slowly works her way toward recovery and completion of basic self-care tasks, her medical bills have ballooned to more than $153,000 – and are likely to continue climbing throughout the course of her rehabilitation. That’s why the girl’s father – and the widower of the decedent – filed a motion for an attachment on the defendant’s house and other property.

Continue reading

The family of a five-year-old boy killed in a Maine trucking accident is reportedly weighing a wrongful death lawsuit against the driver of the box truck that struck the reatruckr of the vehicle in which he was a passenger. The crash also killed the boy’s 57-year-old volunteer driver, who had been transporting the boy from an educational program on a recent Friday afternoon.

According to the Portland Press-Herald, the pair died instantly after a box truck driven by a commercial driver rear-ended them on the Maine Turnpike at mile marker 22. The box truck reportedly slammed into the back of the volunteer driver’s car and then rode up onto its roof. The forceful impact of the collision also reportedly pushed the decedent’s car into the tractor-trailer that was in front of it.

The crash happened at around 2 p.m., after the volunteer driver and others on the turnpike had slowed down as emergency and clean up crews worked to clear the roadway following an earlier trucking accident at mile marker 24. In that crash, a motorist was thrown from a vehicle that collided with a median guardrail, causing the driver to suffer critical injuries.

Continue reading

A decision by the Maine Supreme Judicial Court held that a plaintiff should not be allowed to recover personal injury damages for the wrongful birth of a healthy baby. The child was reportedly conceived after the plaintiff had been implanted with a form of birth control that was inserted into the plaintiff’s arm. mother

The plaintiff gave birth to a boy, who was healthy, in the summer of 2014 when she was 21 years old. However, as she explained to the court, she had visited a health care center to weigh her options for birth control.

According to court records, the plaintiff’s doctor recommended the use of an implantable device manufactured by the defendant. It consisted of a single, four-centimeter-long rod that was to be inserted underneath the skin of the patient’s upper arm with an applicator that looked like a syringe. The drug was designed to prevent pregnancy for at least three years, unless the rod was removed sooner by a doctor. It works by blocking the ovulation process.

Continue reading

Police in Waterville issued dozens of court summonses for underage drinking after responding to a call of a late-night party off-campus where people were smashing beer bottles in the street. Authorities got there around 1 a.m. and discovered two men on the street who conceded they had been drinking, even though they were under the age of 21. They pointed officers to the home where they had consumed the alcohol. beer

When officers went to the home, they discovered the renters, six college students, had thrown a party that reportedly involved lots of underage drinking. Three of the renters, all 21, were charged with the Class D misdemeanor of allowing minors to drink alcohol, according to CentralMaine.com. Each is facing a fine of a mandatory $1,000 fine if any of the drinkers was under 18. Meanwhile, dozens of other youths were charged with the civil violation of underage drinking and face fines of between $200 and $400 for a first-time offense.

Although this incident did not lead to any underage drinking and driving, it’s not a stretch to think that one of those teens was planning to get behind the wheel of a car that night. Perhaps the police intervention thwarted that. But if they had gotten into a car and if they had been in an accident that caused someone else injuries, who would be liable?

Continue reading