Weather-Related Maine Car Accident Kills Child and Father, Injures Sister, Mother, and Friend

Two people were killed – one a child – and three seriously injured in a Maine car accident believed to have been weather-related. snowy highway

The Portland Press-Herald reported the Monday morning crash instantly killed a 45-year-old man and critically injured his fifth-grade daughter, who died two days later. The accident also seriously injured two other children and the girl’s mother. All three children involved in the crash attended Narragansett School in the Gorham School Department, just west of Portland. The newspaper reported the father was a passenger in a Jeep Grand Cherokee driven by his wife when she lost control of the vehicle on a road slicked with snow and ice. The Jeep skidded sideways and was then broadsided by a dump truck, which then pushed the Jeep into a telephone pole. The three girls were seated in the back seat of the vehicle, one in a child car seat. There was so much damage to the Jeep that firefighters had no choice but to cut the doors off to pry the victims out. Of the two girls who survived, one suffered a broken hip and the other several broken bones. The driver and mother sustained severe internal injuries, hospital administrators reported. The driver of the dump truck was not injured.

Maine of course is no stranger to snow and ice, but no matter how many times drivers brave it on the roads, it’s still just as lethal. Investigators are still combing through the circumstances, but the Gorham police chief told the Press-Herald that it was safe to say speed was likely a factor in the collision. However, he added that if this had been a dry roadway at the time of the incident, “this accident would not have happened.”

This tragedy may serve as a cautionary tale to others, stressing how imperative it is to slow down when there is or may be ice or snow covering the roads. As the police chief noted, even those in sport utility vehicles with front wheel drive or all-wheel drive need to make sure they are not overly confident in their ability – or that of their vehicle – to safely make it through potentially dangerous road conditions.

The truly dangerous thing about ice on a roadway is that it’s easy to underestimate. It’s not like ice in a glass of water because often, you can’t even see it, particularly if it’s a sunny day, and there is a glare on the road. It’s important to be especially cautious on bridges, overpasses, or streets that are shaded by buildings or trees. These areas usually freeze before the rest of the road, and they are the last to thaw. When approaching a curve in snowy or icy conditions, slow down well in advance. Even when you can see ice, it can be deceptive in terms of how slick it is or how high the risk of a car accident may be.

AAA Exchange offers the following tips:

  • Make sure your tires are inflated properly.
  • Always look and steer where you are trying to go.
  • Always wear your seat belt.
  • Accelerate and decelerate slowly.
  • Drive slowly, and use special care when accelerating, stopping, or turning.
  • If road conditions are poor, avoid driving if at all possible.

If you are a victim of a Portland, Maine car accident, contact Peter Thompson & Associates at 1-800-490-5218 for a confidential consultation to discuss your rights.

Additional Resources:

Gorham fifth-grader dies from injuries suffered in Monday crash, Dec. 15, 2016, Staff Report, Portland Press-Herald

More Blog Entries:

Child Pedestrian Death Highlights Perils of Poor Road Design in Maine, Dec. 9, 2016, Portland Car Accident Lawyer Blog