SKOWHEGAN — Two Skowhegan brothers, ages 17 and 14, were injured on Tuesday after their Jeep struck the back of a street sweeper kicking up dust.

The 14-year-old front-seat passenger, Jacob Poirier, injured his leg and was flown to a Bangor hospital, Skowhegan Deputy Police Chief Dale Lancaster said. The boy could be heard yelling as rescue workers removed him from the battered vehicle.

The 17-year-old driver, Patrick Poirier, did not appear to be badly injured and mostly suffered cuts and bruises, he said.

It took time for Skowhegan firefighters and ambulance personnel to remove the boys, because the destroyed 1999 Jeep Cherokee had bent around them. They were both wearing seat belts, and both airbags deployed.

They were taken to Redington-Fairview General Hospital about half a mile from the accident, and then Jacob Poirier was flown by LifeFlight helicopter to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor with non-life-threatening injuries, Lancaster said.

Duane Whittemore, 39, employed by the town, was driving the street sweeper in the direction of Fairfield on the right shoulder of Middle Road when he said he felt “a massive jolt” about 2:30 p.m. as the sweeper was rear-ended.

Whittemore had periodically been spraying water, but the dust was thick, he said. He was not injured by the impact, but his hands were still shaking when he spoke.

David Mills lives at 58 Middle Road and was home at the time of the crash.

“It was a big enough noise to wake me up in the house,” he said.

When he looked outside and saw what had happened, he called 911. The crash shut down a portion of the road for more than 45 minutes.

The water tank on the Allianz Johnston MX450 sweeper, owned by equipment specialist HP Fairfield, was crushed by the impact, but the steel frame appeared to not be damaged, Road Commissioner Greg Dore said. The only fluid it lost was water, which spread across the pavement.

After a couple attempts to start it, a worker was able to drive the sweeper away from the scene. The Jeep, registered to Jennifer Poirier, had to be towed.

The town rents a street sweeper for two weeks every year and gets insurance through the rental policy, Dore said.

Lancaster said police will continue to look into reasons for the crash. Officer Herb Oliver is the investigating officer; he was assisted by Officer Stanley Guilmette.

Erin Rhoda — 612-2368

[email protected]


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