PERU — Two drivers were injured in a three-car collision Saturday afternoon on icy Route 108 and taken to Rumford Hospital, police said.
The third driver fled into the woods and was pursued on foot by police, who captured him on Valley Road, Oxford County Cpl. Chancey Libby said.
Thomas Sinclair, 86, of Mexico, and Cynthia Dawson, 56, of Roxbury, were taken by Med-Care Ambulance to Rumford Hospital. A nursing supervisor at the hospital later declined to provide any information about them.
Tyler S. Matias, 23, of Brunswick, complained of knee pain but refused treatment after he was caught by Libby, Mexico police Lt. Roy Hodsdon and Oxford County Sheriff's Sgt. Timothy Holland.
Matias was charged with operating after suspension, leaving the scene of a personal injury accident and possession of a usable amount of marijuana. He was taken to Oxford County Jail in Paris and is to be arraigned on Feb. 15 in 11th District Court.
The incident began at about 1:15 p.m. at 590 Auburn Road (Route 108), just before the western end of Peru Center Road and Faith Baptist Church.
Libby said Sinclair lost control of the 2005 Pontiac Vibe he was driving east and collided head-on with Dawson's 2006 Subaru Forester, which was headed west.
The Forester veered off the road and traveled several feet through snow before stopping. The Vibe spun around and was struck broadside on the passenger-side rear wheel area by a 2006 Suzuki Forenza driven by Matias, Libby said.
The impact with the Subaru ripped the transmission out of the Vibe and scattered engine and front-end parts across both lanes.
Sinclair's passenger, Wayne Sinclair, 53, also of Mexico, was not injured.
Libby said that when he and Hodsdon arrived, witnesses told them that Matias had fled into the woods with his two dogs.
Hodsdon began searching for Matias's footprints, then radioed a dispatcher in Paris that he found the tracks behind the former Peru Town Office.
Libby said he handled a few more things at the accident scene where three Med-Care crews were helping the other victims, then drove to the building and ran into the woods after Hodsdon and Matias.
"We ran like bunnies through the woods and came out over by Tozier's junkyard, then we came upon the Valley Road and tracked him down there," Libby said.
Hodsdon "was of tremendous help," Libby said.
When they found Matias, Libby said he was walking with the dogs. The Brunswick man was handcuffed and returned to the accident scene before being taken to the Paris jail by Holland.
Libby said all drivers and passengers were wearing safety belts, which prevented more serious injuries.
All three vehicles were demolished and towed.
Peru firefighters shut down Route 108 at the scene, detouring traffic for two hours onto Peru Center Road. The section was reopened to traffic by 3:15 p.m. after firefighters removed the debris, placed material to soak up engine fluids and spread sand across both lanes.