ALBANY TOWNSHIP – An Albany Township woman had a harrowing drive on Route 35 on Wednesday when she lost control of her car, which slid backward down an embankment and flipped upside down into trees, police said.
After the noon accident, Diana Rivard, 34, complained of neck and back pain and was taken by Bethel Rescue to Stephens Memorial Hospital in Norway where a nursing supervisor said later Wednesday afternoon Rivard was not a patient.
Maine State Trooper Adam Fillebrown and Bethel police Chief Alan Carr said at the scene that Rivard was driving a 1994 Dodge Intrepid south on Vernon Street, also known as Route 35, when she entered an S-curve about five miles south of Main Street in Bethel. The road’s uneven shoulders were covered with ice, but the pavement was mostly bare.
“When she rounded the corner, the car started to slide around, and she panicked and hit the brakes, which spun her out of control,” Carr said.
The car’s tires were fitted with steel studs, which provide good traction on ice, but not on bare pavement.
“Steel on pavement slides just like you were on ice, because it has nothing to grip,” Carr said.
Both he and Fillebrown said they believe the Dodge slid completely around on the road and was halfway through another spin when the car left the last curve, went off the southbound lane backwards. It traveled down an ice-covered embankment through saplings, caught a rock, flipped onto its roof, and came to rest against a pine tree.
When he arrived at the scene, Bethel firefighter Mark McPherson said he found Rivard standing in road.
Carr and Fillebrown credited Rivard’s safety belt use with preventing more serious injuries.
The accident caused some disruption of traffic while the vehicle was removed.