What: Spaghetti dinner and dance to benefit Edgar Adams
When: Dinner, 5-7 p.m.; dance, 8 p.m. March 13
Where: Nichols Expo Center, Weld Street, Wilton
More: Silent auction, doors open at 3 p.m. for viewing; 50/50 raffle
WILTON — Edgar Adams is lucky to be alive and he knows it.
He narrowly escaped being impaled by a 27-foot section of a pine tree that went through his pickup truck on Route 4 in January as he was on his way to Rangeley to help a friend.
Adams, 46, was going around a corner in Madrid Township, about a mile shy of Smalls Falls, when he saw a pine tree start to fall on the right side of the road, he said Monday.
It was a windy and frigid late morning, and the road was partially covered with packed snow.
He doesn’t remember anything immediately after that because he must have blacked out, he said as he watched television from a hospital bed in his living room.
“When I came to, I was sitting in the driver’s seat still buckled in,” he said. “There wasn’t anything left of my truck. I saw steam and black smoke and I realized my truck was on fire. I undid my seat belt and I got out from under the log and put my left foot on the ground.”
He could stand on it and he thought he was going to walk away, until he put his right foot down and tried to walk.
“I fell flat on my face,” he said. “At that point, I realized I was in a lot of trouble because the truck was burning and I was in the middle of the road. I crawled on my elbows over to the ditch, which wasn’t very far.”
The tree trunk that went through the truck was about 12 inches in diameter, he said. It had gone through the engine compartment, the firewall and glove compartment, across his lap and pushed open the driver’s side door. The dashboard was destroyed, the steering wheel was sheared off.
His right hip was dislocated and broken, he said.
“Once I got out over to the ditch, I started crawling up it,” Adams said. “I had just filled my truck with gas.”
It seemed like forever before someone showed up, though it was only minutes, he said. Two men stopped. Initially they didn’t want to move him because of his injuries.
“I told them I was not dying there after what I had just been through,” he said.
They relented after learning about the gas and pulled him about 50 to 75 feet up the road, Adams said.
Emergency crews arrived shortly after that.
Adams was taken by ambulance to a nearby airport and flown by medical helicopter to a Lewiston hospital. Several days later, he had surgery on his hip.
“Someone was looking out for me that day,” Adams said. “If the tree hadn’t opened the door, I wouldn’t have gotten out.”
He said his adrenaline was going crazy but he remained calm.
“I just did what I had to do,” Adams said. “I didn’t want to die that day. I pretty well already cheated death.”
The electrician’s helper had been laid off before the accident and was collecting unemployment benefits. But after he was injured, he lost his benefits because he could no longer look for work, he said.
He has no health insurance and has weeks left of recovery and physical therapy.
Community members are rallying to raise money to help him pay medical bills. A benefit supper and dance will be held, beginning at 5 p.m. on Saturday, March 13, at the Nichols Expo Center.