AUGUSTA — The driver of a tractor-trailer that went off Interstate 95 early Wednesday morning and lost most of a load of 90,000 pounds of lumber, some of which went through his truck’s cab inches from his head, escaped uninjured.

One northbound lane of Interstate 95 near mile 115 in Augusta near the Sidney town line was closed Wednesday morning as a large crew worked to clean up the lumber and remove the crashed truck, which police said was a total loss.

The closed lane reopened to traffic just after noon.

The driver, John Rancourt, 32, of Jay, was evaluated by Augusta paramedics but was uninjured, much to the surprise of public safety officials.

“He was, somehow, not injured at all,” Maine State Police Trooper Joseph Chretien said. “He walked away without a scratch. It’s amazing he didn’t get hurt.”

Photographs provided by the Augusta Fire Department show some large pieces of lumber from the load sticking into and through the truck cab, right behind the driver’s seat. The truck and the surrounding area were covered in finished lumber. The rig’s engine area was mangled.

Chretien said Rancourt was traveling north when the flatbed tractor-trailer left the road, hit a rock ledge and ended up in a ditch. About 80 percent of the large load of lumber was dislodged from the trailer.

Fire crews were sent to the accident site about 5:45 a.m. Wednesday. Department officials said on the department’s Facebook page that the driver is lucky to be alive.

At mid-morning Wednesday, traffic was backed up to just north of exit 113 in Augusta. Traffic was not stopped, but it was moving slowly past the accident.

A large cleanup of the scene was required because of the amount of lumber.

Chretien said the driver said a vehicle passed him, requiring him to swerve, but the trooper said other witnesses didn’t see another vehicle involved. Police suspect the driver might have fallen asleep.

Rancourt was wearing his seat belt, police said.

No charges have been filed. Police said they reviewed Rancourt’s commercial truck paperwork and found no violations.

Equipment including a logging truck and state Department of Transportation workers were on the scene Wednesday morning to help remove the lumber and the truck.

Keith Edwards — 621-5647

[email protected]

Twitter: @kedwardskj


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