WHITEFIELD—Police say a distracted driver is to blame in Tuesday’s near head-on crash involving a police cruiser on Townhouse Road that left two people injured, including a deputy sheriff.

Lincoln County Sheriff Deputy Chad Gilbert, 41, and Gabriela Soohey, 42 of Searsmont, who was driving the second vehicle, each suffered non life-threatening injuries, according to a Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office press release.

The crash occurred around 3:40 p.m. Tuesday as Gilbert drove his cruiser, a 2011 Crown Victoria, north on Townhouse Road. Soohey was driving south in a 2002 Chevrolet Prism sedan.

“As Ms. Soohey approached a right curve she became distracted by her cellular telephone,” sheriff officials said. “Ms. Soohey’s vehicle entered the northbound travel lane and into the path of Deputy Gilbert.”

Gilbert steered to the right and slammed on his brakes in attempt to avoid Soohey’s car. Soohey, too, hit her breaks before the cars hit nearly head on, officials said.

Soohey had to be extricated from her car. She was taken to the hospital with what were believed to be non life-threatening injuries.

A nearby resident helped Gilbert from his cruiser. He was later treated for minor abrasions to his arms.
Both drivers were wearing seat belts. Airbags deployed in both vehicles.

The cruiser and the Prism appear to be totaled, officials said.

There was no indication of charges connected to the crash.

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