Law enforcement officials in Knox County have identified one of the people killed Friday in a six-vehicle accident on Route 17 in Washington as Paul Fowles, 74, of Owls Head.

The Knox County Sheriff’s Office said identification of the second person killed will have to wait for confirmation by the state medical examiner because of the extent of the burns the victim suffered.

Fowles was driving the first vehicle to be struck around 5 p.m. Friday when a Freightliner with a flatbed loaded with lumber and traveling west on the Augusta Road strayed across the oncoming lane of traffic as its driver, Randall Weddle, 53, of Greenville, Tennessee, tried to negotiate a curve in the road just west of the intersection of Fitch Road and Route 17, which also is called Augusta Road.

A release from the sheriff’s office said the trailer started to roll onto its left side as it continued around the bend, and Fowle’s vehicle, a Chevrolet Colorado, went off the road to the south after being struck on the left side and slid down an embankment. Fowles was pronounced dead at the scene.

Tracy Cook, 51, of Union, was driving a 2014 Nissan that also was struck by the trailer and veered off the road, rolling once and striking the vehicle behind her, a 2015 Kia driven by Tracy Morgan, 33, of Washington. Cook’s vehicle came to a rest on its wheels in the field south of the road.

Morgan, the release states, was able to avoid the trailer by taking evasive action, and she was able to stop her vehicle in the field south of the road after Cook’s vehicle struck it.

A 1998 Chrysler van, struck by the trailer and load of lumber, was pushed into the field and burst into flames, police said.

The Freightliner, upside down on its roof, slid down the road before slipping down an embankment on the south side of the road.

Morgan was not injured. Cook was taken by ambulance to a local hospital, as was Lowell Babb, 32, of Virginia, who was a passenger in the Freightliner. Weddle was taken by LifeFlight to Central Maine Medical Center. Crews worked for more than an hour to remove Weddle from the truck’s cab. Their injuries were not considered life-threatening. Central Maine Medical Center declined to release any information Saturday on Weddle.

Emergency crews remained at the scene until about 2:30 a.m. Saturday, cleaning up debris and securing the vehicles. Service to FairPoint and Central Maine Power Co. customers was expected to be restored Saturday morning after crews repaired the lines and pole destroyed in the crash. Power had been shut off to a large area initially.

The Knox County Sheriff’s Office, the Waldo County Sheriff’s Office and the Maine State Police Reconstruction, Mapping and Commerical Truck Enforcement units are expected to continue their investigation.

Fire departments and emergency medical crews responded from Washington, Jefferson, Somerville and Union to put out the fire and provide care to the victims, police said.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.