A Rome man injured Tuesday after his truck went off the road, hit a tree and caught fire could have suffered more severe injuries were it not for some quick action by a Maine State Police trooper, officials said.

State police Cpl. Diane Vance found Eric Bachand, 21, pinned in his pickup truck around 3:30 p.m. Tuesday after it crashed down a steep embankment off Route 135 in Belgrade.

The truck, according to a statement from police, had heavy smoke coming from it and appeared to be on fire.

Vance, who had been pursuing the truck because it drove by her with no license plates, used a fire extinguisher to douse the fire and called for fire and rescue personnel.

Bachand was removed from the vehicle later by firefighters, who strapped him to a gurney and pulled him up the steep embankment. He was taken to MaineGeneral Medical Center in Augusta with injuries including a broken neck and facial fracture, according to Lt. Mark Brooks, of Maine State Police.

“He could have sustained many more injuries, or even died, if not for the quick thinking by Cpl. Vance,” Brooks said Wednesday.

MaineGeneral officials said Bachand was treated at the hospital and then transferred. Details on where he was transferred to were not available Wednesday.

Police said Bachand had a revoked driver’s license.

Brooks, after consultation with the district attorney’s office, said Bachand would be charged with operating a motor vehicle while a habitual offender, operating an unregistered motor vehicle, and eluding an officer; and more charges could be pending.

Vance was parked in a state police cruiser about 3:25 p.m. Tuesday at Christy’s Store on Route 27, talking with a citizen, when she saw a black truck with no license plates traveling north. She pulled onto Route 27, turning on her lights and siren, and the driver of the truck accelerated quickly, heading west on Route 135 at a high rate of speed, police said.

Police said it appeared Bachand saw the police cruiser, accelerated quickly and had no intention of stopping as Vance followed him.

Brooks said Bachand “sped up at a speed not consistent with what most people would do when a police cruiser was behind them” and reached speeds “well over” the posted 40 mph limit there.

Vance lost sight of the vehicle, according to a statement from state police, as it rounded a corner. However, she then saw the truck had gone off the road and crashed down an embankment.

State troopers, Belgrade Fire and Rescue, Oakland Fire and Delta Ambulance crews responded to the accident scene.

Keith Edwards — 621-5647

[email protected]

Twitter: @kedwardskj

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