The Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a crash that occurred Tuesday night on Lakeview Drive in China in which a construction dump truck damaged five utility poles and knocked out power to 1,200 Central Maine Power Co. customers for about eight hours.

Robert Lee, 44, of Cushing, was driving north on Lakeview Drive at 8:04 p.m. Tuesday in an empty dump truck when he inadvertently engaged a mechanical device that powers the lift on the dump truck body, causing it to rise, according to Deputy Jeff Boudreau, who was at the scene.

Boudreau said that as Lee drove on Lakeview Drive, the dump truck started collecting wires that were strong enough so that they lifted the truck right off the pavement.

“They carried the truck to a pole and flipped the truck on its side and smashed two poles right there where the truck made contact,” Boudreau said. “Five poles were damaged from the stress of the weight of the dump truck.”

Lee was not injured in the crash but told officials he was bounced around in the cab, according to Boudreau.

“He was very lucky,” he said.

The truck Lee was driving is owned by Michael Secotte, of Cushing, who owns a construction business, and Lee apparently was heading to the Newport area to do some work for Lane Construction, according to Boudreau. Secotte arrived at the scene sometime after the crash, he said.

The crash caused power to be knocked out to 1,200 CMP customers in China just after 8 p.m. and damaged the five utility poles, three of which had to be replaced, according to CMP spokeswoman Gail Rice. Power was restored to those customers at 4:13 a.m. Wednesday, she said.

Boudreau said the crash occurred within eyesight of the Route 3 intersection with Lakeview Drive, which also is U.S. Route 202. Three poles were struck on the east side of Lakeview Drive and two on the west side, he said.

Sgt. Michael Dutil and Deputy Michael Sayers, of the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office, also worked at the scene of the crash, as did China firefighters and Delta Ambulance personnel. Firefighters blocked off part of Lakeview Drive to traffic while officials worked at the scene, according to Boudreau. He said the state Department of Environmental Protection was on site because fuel spilled from the dump truck.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17

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