YORK — A New York man escaped from his submerged pickup after it crashed through a guardrail Sunday night on Sewall’s Bridge, which connects Seabury and Organug roads over the York River.

Michael E. Chandler, 50, of Schenectady, N.Y., told police that he was avoiding a bicyclist and crashed through the wooden guardrail. The 2009 Toyota Tacoma was headed south on Organug at about 11:30 p.m. Sunday when it went through the right side guardrail and became submerged under the bridge, police said.

Chandler was able to escape and swim to safety. He was taken by ambulance to York Hospital where he was treated and released.

Authorities launched a search of the area when a bicyclist was not found at the scene, even though Chandler did not report hitting the bicyclist.

An exhaustive search by the York Fire Department, the Coast Guard, Maine Marine Patrol, and Maine State Police dive team turned up no sign of the bicyclist.

York police are investigating to determine the cause of the crash, police said.

The Maine Department of Transportation is reducing the permitted weight on the bridge from 12 tons to three tons because it must place heavy cement barriers along the edge as a temporary guardrail. The bridge was already scheduled for a $3.4 million rehabilitation, which is to get underway Oct. 1, according to an MDOT spokesman.

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