SOUTH CHINA — The driver of a tractor-trailer that dumped a load of chicken manure Friday into the parking lot of Tobey’s Grocery on Route 3 will be charged.

Jeremy Bamford, 38, of Fayette, will be charged with two civil violations: imprudent speed and failure to maintain control of the vehicle, Sgt. Frank Hatch, of the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office, said Friday afternoon. Maine State Police also might charge the trucking company, Splash Trucking, of Turner, with commercial violations, Hatch said.

The truck was turning left from Route 3 onto Branch Mills Road when it tipped over, crashing into a ditch and dumping its full load of 32 tons of manure across the lot of the grocery store and gas station.

No one, including Bamford, was hurt in the accident.

The crash took several hours to clean up and drew more than a dozen onlookers.

A spill cleanup crew from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection had to empty the truck’s diesel tanks before it could be hauled upright, and the manure transferred into two waiting trucks from Splash, Hatch said at the scene. He said the manure cleanup, which hadn’t started two hours after the accident, probably would take two hours or more.

Bamford said at the scene he was hauling a load from Turner to Knox. He said the load shifted when he took the turn onto Branch Mills Road, which caused the trailer to tip over. The truck was heavily damaged in the crash, and a tow truck was trying to pull it upright around noon.

Video from the store’s surveillance camera shows the truck, headed east on Route 3, taking the turn and immediately tipping over, the manure spraying across the parking lot and hitting a portable toilet stationed near the edge of the parking lot.

Bystanders slowly converge on the flipped truck, and the door of the cab can be seen opening before the video ends.

Bamford came out of the crash mostly unharmed and said the only injury he suffered was a small bump on his head from the seatbelt when he got out of the truck.

The spill was contained to the lot and didn’t affect traffic significantly on Route 3, the main east-west artery between the coast and central Maine; but the entrance to Branch Mills Road was closed to traffic while emergency crews cleaned up.

Despite the large, smelly pile of manure in the parking lot, a steady stream of customers came through Tobey’s Grocery late Friday morning, and many took a moment to watch the cleanup unfold, take pictures and joke about the crash.

Others watched the crash scene for more than a few minutes.

Mark Evasius sat on a bench next to the store with his son Calvin, 21 watching the crash site around noon.

Evasius said he came to the store to buy groceries about 10 minutes after the crash and had been there ever since, watching the action.

Since there were no injuries, it was easy for the three to make wisecracks; but inside, store manager Shawn Cunningham was worried that the accident and a 2-foot-deep puddle of chicken manure could hurt business.

“I’m sure it hasn’t helped,” Cunningham said. “If I saw that much traffic, I’d go somewhere else.”

Peter McGuire — 861-9239

[email protected]

Twitter: PeteL_McGuire

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