NEWPORT — Matthew Downing was outside in his mother-in-law’s driveway Halloween night, working at the front of his wife’s van because it wouldn’t start.

Downing, 32, of Corinna, left work early Monday so he and his wife could take their three children out trick-or-treating.

At about 4:30 p.m., Downing’s mother-in-law, Vanessa Carson heard her daughter Rachel Downing yell, “The van!”

And she heard her son-in-law scream.

“I knew it wasn’t good,” said Carson, who lives at the Shaw Street residence. “I think the wheel ran over his leg and he protected his body. Rachel said he protected his head and chest, saw the bumper coming up, put his arm up. He knew enough to protect his body and his head. God bless him for that.”

The van had rolled onto Downing, who suffered a severely broken leg and a broken arm, Carson said Thursday outside her home.

He remained Thursday at Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor, where his condition was listed as fair, according to a hospital spokeswoman.

When Downing screamed, Carson said she called 911 as Rachel rushed outside and pushed the van off her husband.

Carson said Thursday that other media accounts of the accident, as described by Newport police, were inaccurate. The van was not propped up with a jack and it did not fall onto him, she said.

Newport Police Chief Leonard Macdaid said officer Kenny Williams and Sgt. Sanger Davis rushed to the scene on Shaw Street, which is the next street over from the police department, and determined that the van probably rolled because it had been left in gear.

“We helped stabilize him until rescue arrived,” Macdaid said.

Downing’s recovery is expected to last a while, Carson said. She described him as a high-energy workaholic who always helps others in need.

“He’s doing as good as expected. He’s alert. He’s doing quite well, under the circumstances,” Carson said. “He’s going to pull through. He’s never been on this end — he’s always helped everybody and he doesn’t know what it is to be in this situation, taking help. But we’ve convinced him he does need assistance. Matt’s always worrying about everybody else but himself.”

Downing’s family, friends and employer, the American Concrete Industries office in Veazie, are rallying to support him, Carson said.

“He will be out of work for a long time I believe,” she said.

Scott Monroe — 861-9239

[email protected]

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