BAR HARBOR — The Maine Department of Transportation is set to apply an iron oxide grit to a portion of Route 3 after slippery road conditions were blamed for a dramatic accident in driving rain Monday afternoon.
No one was injured when a dump truck lost control driving down a steep section of Route 3 on Ireson Hill, spun around and crashed rear-first into a garage. But the accident and potential for injury prompted many residents to complain to MDOT about the road conditions.
“We will continue to monitor that stretch,” MDOT Press Secretary Ted Talbot told the Islander Tuesday. He said he expects the grit to prevent slippage. Residents have complained about the slippery road since a coat of sealant was applied in late August, and town crews have applied sand to it several times.
The accident occurred when a vehicle stopped on Route 3, waiting to make a left turn on Sand Point Road at about 3:30 p.m., according to reports. A 2012 GMC pickup operated by Gary Taylor, 57, of Ellsworth, was stopped behind the turning vehicle.
The dump truck, operated by Guy Edwards, 60, of Waltham, was third in line. When Edwards hit the brakes, his truck reportedly started to slide.
Wayne Sinclair of Trenton said he witnessed the accident.
“The dump truck had just crested the hill … [and] tapped his brakes,” Sinclair wrote in an email, “and the front of his truck shot off the right side of the road, went sideways and started gaining an immense amount of momentum.”
Edwards said he “slowed down and hit the brakes, and took off like I was on ice.”
He eased off the brakes and kept sliding.
“Instead of hitting someone, I went for the dirt,” he said.
The dump truck continued to slide down the hill, half on and half off the road, reportedly striking Taylor’s pickup from behind.
Sinclair said the truck clipped the back of the pickup, “which spun him completely in the other direction.”
The dump truck spun almost 180 degrees before landing in a garage owned by Matthew Gerrish.
The truck “bounced across [the] driveway,” Sinclair said, still going incredibly fast. It ran over the mailbox and a sign for Gerrish’s chiropractic office. It “missed the corner of their house and buried the right side of the dump truck in the side of [the] garage.”
Edwards concurred, saying that because his truck was empty, “the back end came around. I spun right around and went backwards through the garage.”
Sinclair said he pulled to the side of the road, and his son called emergency services. After checking on the other drivers, he walked into the road to collect debris that had fallen from the pickup truck. He described the road as “slick.”
The pickup truck was towed. Though an ambulance responded to the accident, nobody required medical treatment.
In order to prevent the collapse of the garage, and to give the family time to remove a car that was inside, the dump truck was left overnight. It was towed out of the garage Tuesday morning, and was driveable.
The accident occurred on a section of road recently resurfaced by contractors for the MDOT as part of the Route 3 reconstruction project. Since the road was resurfaced in August, slippery conditions have been reported by drivers. Other, more minor accidents have also been blamed on the condition of the road.
Dale Mayo, the project engineer for the Route 3 project, acknowledged last week that the slick surface was caused by a sealant applied in humid weather.
“Normally it isn’t a problem for that long,” Mayo said of the slippery surface. “It lasted longer than it was expected to.”