A Woolwich man died Friday night in a traffic accident on Route 27 in Pittston in which the vehicle ended up on its roof in a pond.

Edward MacDonald, 67, of Woolwich, was driving home from work at the Maine Municipal Association in Augusta when his vehicle went off the road on a hill and overturned, according to Maine State Trooper Klayton Peckham.

Peckham said the cause of death is to be determined at an autopsy set for the upcoming week, but it appeared that MacDonald drowned.

Peckham said the roadway was slick at the time, and it did not appear that speed or other factors were involved.

He also said MacDonald was wearing a seat belt.

The 2003 Jeep Cherokee that MacDonald was driving was destroyed, Peckham said.

Pittston Fire Chief Jason Farris said Saturday morning that the accident was reported just after 7 p.m. near 656 Wiscasset Road.

“When we arrived, all you could see was bottom 2 to 3 inches of the vehicle sticking up,” he said. “The passenger compartment was fully submerged.”

Farris said the southbound vehicle had landed on its roof on the ice before breaking through into the water.

“We tried to make a rescue, but the ice was breaking under us,” Farris said. The Gardiner Fire Department responded with cold water rescue suits, but the vehicle proved too unstable for people to work near it.

“When we got the vehicle stable enough and could look into the passenger compartment, it was obvious the person was deceased,” he said.

A tow truck eventually pulled the vehicle from the pond, and MacDonald was removed. His body was taken to Staples Funeral Home until it could be sent to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Augusta.

Farris described the pond as 6 to 10 feet deep, and about 30 feet long and 40 feet wide.

Farris said it is a retention pond on Cold Spring Hill opposite a spring where people used to fill water bottles 15 or 20 years ago.

Firefighters were at the scene about 1 1/2 hours and helped direct traffic around the scene by diverting drivers off Route 27 and onto Route 194 and Kelly Road.

Farris said traffic Friday night was heavier than usual partly because a sports team from Boothbay, as well as a number of fans, were headed home after a game.

He also said the town’s plowing contractor, Jeffrey Ricker, came to sand the area of the crash, which was slick Friday night, as well as the roads used for the detour.

“The town plow guys did a good job on those two roads,” he said.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

 


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