CANAAN — Two people were taken to a Bangor hospital Thursday morning and a third was taken to a local hospital after a two-car head-on crash on U.S. Route 2 about two miles east of the center of Canaan.

Cpl. Eugene Cole, of the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office, said at the scene that all three people — the two drivers and a passenger — were removed from the wreckage by emergency rescue personnel using a hydraulic extrication tool.

Fire and rescue personnel from several towns responded to the report of what a dispatcher called a serious accident.

The accident was reported about 7:45 a.m. Thursday near Tropical Fish Road.

Police closed U.S. 2 from the Pittsfield end to the Canaan side for about three hours because of the accident. State police were at the scene for accident reconstruction and reported the road was open again about 11:10 a.m.

James Ross, chief deputy at the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office, said in a news release later in the morning Thursday that Canaan Fire and Rescue, along with Skowhegan, Pittsfield and Hartland fire departments, Pittsfield police, Redington Fairview EMS and Clinton Rescue went to the crash scene.


State police Trooper Chris Carr, who was in the area, arrived first, along with a forest ranger who also was in the area.

Because of the serious injuries to one driver, a LifeFlight of Maine helicopter was requested to be on standby. LifeFlight responded and took one of the drivers, Tabitha Byler, 33, of Skowhegan, who suffered serious injuries that apparently were not life-threatening, to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor.

The other vehicle’s driver, James Downey, 28, of East Haven, Connecticut, was taken to Redington-Fairview General Hospital in Skowhegan, also with serious injuries that were not deemed life-threatening.

Downey then also was taken to EMMC in Bangor by the LifeFlight ground crew. A passenger who was apparently in Byler’s vehicle also was taken to Redington-Fairview with unknown injuries.

Maine State Police assisted Deputy Brian Crater at the scene with the accident reconstruction and provided the use of a drone to map the crash scene forensically. By using the drone, police were able to reopen the highway much more quickly than in the past, Ross said.

A-Plus Towing provided the wrecker service. Both vehicles have been impounded pending further investigation.


The crash remains under investigation and a determination of fault has not yet been made.

Ross said about 4 p.m. Thursday that Byler was driving a blue 1990 Buick LeSabre. Downing was driving a red 2004 Hyundai Sonata.

The injured passenger is Scott Walters, who is from the Pittsfield area, he said.

There was no update on injuries and no further information was immediately available.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]


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