AUGUSTA — A Penobscot County man was charged after allegedly trying to speed away after his tractor-trailer hit the Water Street train trestle.

A state police lieutenant driving behind Ronald Kaelin, 33, of Patten, followed him after the accident as he drove across the river.

Kaelin was issued summonses charging him with leaving the scene of a property damage accident, failure to report an accident by quickest means and exceeding bridge height, said Lt. Shawn Currie, commanding officer of the Maine State Police Commercial Vehicle Unit.

Kaelin told Currie he did not see the signs warning of the low bridge because he was following his GPS. Kaelin told Currie he tried to get away because he was scared.

Currie was several vehicles behind Kaelin’s truck as they were both traveling south on Water Street around 2:30 p.m. Tuesday when the truck’s trailer hit the trestle.

Currie, whose view was blocked by a truck in front of him, knew what happened before seeing the damaged trailer speed away.

“I heard the clang and saw the debris,” he said.

The trestle claims several truck trailers a year as drivers miss the signs warning of the trestle’s irregular height of 12 feet, 10 inches. The impact often wedges the trailers, forcing an abrupt stop, but Currie said when Kaelin’s trailer hit the trestle it ripped off about half an inch of the trailer’s top.

Currie said Kaelin accelerated away and turned left onto Bridge Street to go over the Calumet Bridge. Currie caught up with Kaelin’s truck near Fort Western and followed him with the cruiser’s lights and sirens activated until Kaelin stopped the truck in Cony Circle.

Currie said the damaged roof destabilized the trailer, the sides of which were flapping in the wind as Kaelin drove.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that he knew he hit (the bridge),” Currie said.

Currie said it’s possible debris scattered on the road by the impact could damage tires of cars that drove through immediately afterwards.

“I’m surprised I don’t have a flat tire,” Currie said.

A truck most recently became wedged under the trestle last week.

Finian D’Silva, 55, of Ottawa, Ontario, who was driving for J B Express, of Ontario, was charged with having an over-height vehicle after the accident Dec. 15. It took two hours to free the truck.

Craig Crosby — 621-5642

[email protected]

Twitter: @CraigCrosby4