Augusta police on Tuesday renewed calls for caution and common sense after a responding to reports of a pair of wayward truck drivers.

The drivers, one of whom drove the wrong way on a one-way street and another who slid through a snow-covered intersection at the bottom of a steep hill, both told officers they got into the predicament by following the lead of their GPS.

“If you come into town and you’re following GPS, you have to really watch what you’re doing,” Sgt. Christian Behr said.

Both mishaps occurred during the mid-morning hours, at the height of Tuesday’s snowstorm. Behr said traveling was difficult on snow-covered roads, leading to a number of minor crashes and stranded vehicles.

In the midst of that, police were sent to Water Street in response to a report of a tractor-trailer driver who took a left turn off Bridge Street onto Water Street, which is restricted to one-way traffic in the opposite direction. The truck, looking a little like a salmon swimming upstream, continued through the one-way section without causing a crash. The truck made its way to the two-way portion before climbing Rines Hill to Hartford Square.

Police caught up to the driver, who said the GPS he was using had told him to turn left off Bridge Street, Behr said.

A short time later, police were called to the intersection of Spruce and Arsenal streets after a box truck descended Spruce Street, which, when covered in snow, resembles a beginner’s trail at the Sunday River ski resort. The truck, unable to stop at the bottom of the hill, slid through the intersection and hit a retaining wall, Behr said.

That driver, like the first one, said he was following his GPS.

Behr said there are similar complaints every week or so, but the fact that there were two in a single day Tuesday, coupled with the snowstorm, made the situation particularly troubling.

“It makes it very bad,” he said of the storm.

Neither driver was issued a summons, Behr said, though the truck that crashed on Spruce Street was damaged and had to be towed away.

Behr said drivers have to use GPS to navigate their way through unfamiliar areas, but that doesn’t excuse driving unsafely.

“Frequently the driver was driving in an unsafe manner and, when asked, stated, ‘My GPS took me this way,'” Behr said. “We’re asking for caution and common sense and safety, especially during bad weather events.”

Craig Crosby — 621-5642

[email protected]

Twitter: @CraigCrosby4


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