A box truck carrying 35 barrels of bait fish tipped over Thursday morning on Route 1 in Newcastle, disrupting traffic and leaving that section of the busy highway covered with smelly fish for more than three hours.

The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office said in a prepared statement that the truck, owned by Purse Line Bait of Phippsburg, went off the two-lane road around 9:49 a.m.

Lt. Brendan Kane identified the driver as 41-year-old Christopher Grendell, of Brunswick. Grendell told police he had to enter the breakdown lane to avoid hitting a motor vehicle that had stopped in traffic to make a left turn.

Grendell lost control of the truck on the soft shoulder and the truck rolled onto its side. The truck came to rest along the embankment, causing the load of bait fish to spill onto the ground. Grendell was taken to LincolnHealth hospital in Damariscotta for treatment of minor injuries.

Speed and driver inattention are believed to have been factors in the crash, Kane said in the statement.

The accident disrupted traffic on Route 1, which is typically congested during the height of the summer vacation season. According to police, it took crews from the Newcastle Fire Department, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection and the Maine Department of Transportation 3½ hours to clean up the fish and remove the truck from the highway.

The Lincoln County Emergency Management Agency, which also responded to the accident, said in a post on its Facebook page that the truck tipped over in the vicinity of Newcastle Chrysler and Mike’s Place.

Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at:

[email protected]

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