WATERVILLE — A motorcyclist was critically injured Thursday afternoon and later flown to a Portland hospital after a crash on College Avenue involving two sport utility vehicles, according to police.

The crash, reported at 3:40 p.m., occurred near the Salvation Army store at 184 College Ave.

Police and representatives of the Kennebec County District Attorney’s Office were at the scene two hours later, investigating the crash, according to police Deputy Chief Charles Rumsey.

“It appears that this traffic accident was caused by a vehicle which was a large SUV backing out of a driveway on College Avenue into the northbound travel lane,” Rumsey said. “A small SUV traveling northbound on College Avenue had to slam on the brakes to avoid colliding with the vehicle. When the small SUV slammed on the brakes, the motorcyclist following the vehicle swerved to avoid the small SUV and in the process of trying to swerve to avoid hitting it, the driver of the motorcycle struck the driver’s side rear of the SUV and ended up crashing his motorcycle.”

Rumsey said he didn’t want to release the names of the motorcyclist or the SUV drivers while the accident is being investigated.

He said the driver of the motorcycle was not wearing a helmet and suffered a serious head injury.

Rumsey said he didn’t know which Waterville hospital had the victim initially, but he was taken in critical condition from that hospital by LifeFlight helicopter to Maine Medical Center in Portland.

“We have contacted another agency to assist us with reconstructing the accident,” Rumsey said. “Members of the DA’s office are on College Avenue assessing the scene and assisting in the investigation. We have multiple members of our detective division interviewing witnesses and assisting in the investigation.”

At the scene just after the crash, the motorcycle lay on its side in the southbound driving lane as the victim, a man whose face and arm were bleeding, was loaded onto a stretcher and into a Delta Ambulance. Two certified nursing assistants who were nearby rushed to the victim immediately after the crash.

Jenna Bryer, 20, lives on the east side of College Avenue and had just arrived home from work and was in her driveway when the accident occurred.

“I heard the crash, and when I turned around, I saw his motorcycle swerve and skid off to the side and it flipped, and he landed on his face and his motorcycle landed on its side,” Bryer said. “I ran over because I’m a CNA. He was responsive. We found a light pulse.”

She said the victim nodded when she asked whether he could understand her, and then she told him help was on the way.

CNA Brandi Champagne, 23, of Oakland, said she was coming out of the Salvation Army store when the crash occurred. She didn’t see it happen, but she said she ran over to see if she could help.

Champagne said both she and Bryer, who know each other, knew not to move the victim.

“We both know what to do in the case of a crisis situation,” Champagne said. “We talked to him. We said if he could hear us to focus on his breathing — he had very rapid breathing. We just knew to talk to him.”

Police and firefighters worked at the scene, where glass and other debris were scattered on the road, which was blocked off to traffic. Southbound traffic was rerouted through the Salvation Army parking lot as police Sgt. Lincoln Ryder tied yellow police tape around the accident scene.

Spectators lined the sidewalks to watch the goings-on and traffic backed up on College Avenue after the accident.

 

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17

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