HALLOWELL — Police on Friday were trying to determine the identity of the driver and owner of a tractor-trailer that came down steep Winthrop Street, blew through its intersection with Water Street without stopping and crashed into a snowbank, knocking a street lamp into a storefront window and breaking both.

Security video footage shows the truck, just after 5 a.m. Thursday, barreling into the intersection at the bottom of the Winthrop Street hill without stopping, turning to the right but appearing to not be able to make the turn. The truck then slid and came to an abrupt halt, apparently striking a snowbank on the river side of Water Street, causing the truck’s trailer to tip up and teeter before its wheels came back to rest on the snow-covered Water Street.

Police Chief Eric Nason said the incident probably caused $6,000 to $7,000 worth of damage to city and private property, between the lamppost and large broken window, and another $3,000 or so in damage to the truck itself.

The truck, after the incident, backed up and drove off to the south on Water Street, the video shows.

Nason said Friday that police have not been able to identify either the truck’s driver or its owner, though they are seeking to do so.

He said the truck is a tractor-trailer with a gray cab and a white box, and the truck would have damage to its front end, including pieces missing from the driver’s corner of the rig.

Nason said the driver could face charges of leaving the scene of an accident and, potentially, violating a city ordinance that bans trucks heavier than 16 tons from most of Winthrop Street, unless they are an emergency vehicles such as a firetruck, or are making a local delivery.

The city ordinance prohibits trucks of more than 16 tons of gross weight, and all trailer trucks, unless they are making local deliveries or are of local origin, “from Winthrop Street westerly from Middle Street to the Whitten Road.” The Water Street intersection is east of Middle Street, but the truck might have come from west of that intersection, in violation of city ordinance. Fines for violating the ordinance range from $100 for trucks of less than 25 tons up to $1,000 for trucks over 40 tons.

Nason said the incident, in which the truck hit no people or other vehicles, could have been worse and could had posed a greater risk of injury if it had occurred later in the day, when there would be more pedestrian and vehicle traffic.

“Given the time it occurred, there were not yet a lot of pedestrians around, though traffic was picking up about that time,” Nason said Friday. “The timing of it was something beneficial to us, as far as not having any type of injuries.”

Some nearby residents initially thought the truck had struck the Water Street building across the street from the intersection. Instead, according to the building’s owner, Terry Berry, the truck hit a snowbank, causing a chain reaction in which a city street lamp was knocked over, into the window of a vacant storefront there, breaking the street lamp and the window.

The building, with street addresses of 104, 106 and 108 Water St., contains apartments, Berry’s real estate business, and the Easy Street Lounge.

It’s not the first time a vehicle has come down the steep incline of Winthrop Street and been unable to stop at the intersection. In 2003 a truck carrying water lost control and ended up in the basement of the same building. And in the late 1980s, another large truck crashed into the building just north of Berry’s, ending up on its ground floor for several months before it was removed. And, in 2012, a pickup truck lost control coming down the hill, went through the intersection and into a parked car, injuring two occupants of the truck.

Nate Rudy, city manager, said at the request of city officials the state Department of Transportation has agreed to install bollards, short sturdy posts meant to deflect traffic, at the intersection below Winthrop Street, as part of the upcoming reconstruction of Water Street through the downtown area.

Keith Edwards — 621-5647

[email protected]

Twitter: @kedwardskj

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