JAY — The first freezing rain and sleet of the winter caught dozens of motorists off guard Monday morning, according to local police and rescue officials.
As of noon, officials in Franklin and Oxford counties in western Maine, had responded to more than 30 accidents — most attributed to slick road conditions.
Two accidents and a mishap were reported within a half-hour in Jay, police there said Monday.
No one was injured, Jay police Detective Richard Caton IV said. A pickup truck driven by Roger Perreault, 73, pulled off a side road onto Franklin Road about 9:10 a.m., hit ice and went down into a ditch and rolled on its side, he said. Damage to the 1996 Dodge is estimated at $1,000.
About 20 minutes later, Robert Dayson, 48, of Jay, was driving a 2010 Toyota truck that crossed the center line into a ditch and struck a tree, Caton said. It was estimated that the truck received about $2,500 in damage.
Another driver, Stephanie Austin, 40, of Chesterville went around Dayson's truck to avoid hitting it and got stuck in a ditch, Caton said. There was no damage, he said.
In Oxford County, Chief Deputy Dane Tripp said county and local police had responded to 13 accidents as of noon.
"It's the same every year, it's that first kind of cool and slippery weather and you've just got to use prudence when you are driving in that first weather," Tripp said.
He also said an Oxford County Sheriff's cruiser was struck by a deer which ran into the road in Paris on Monday as well. The officer driving the vehicle was not injured but the cruiser sustained an estimated $2,000 in damages.
Tripp said the accidents were scattered around the region involving both major and minor roadways.
Franklin County emergency dispatchers handled 22 accidents reports county-wide during Monday morning, dispatcher Jarrod Bilodeau said.
Eight of them had some type of personal injury, Franklin County Sheriff Lt. Niles Yeaton said. Two were given to the Maine State Police, one was handled by Oxford County Sheriff's Department and another was handled by Somerset County Sheriff's Departmnt, he said.
Franklin County deputies also handled one in Industry for the State Police, Yeaton said.
The roads south of Phillips and Kingfield were in better shape later in the day but those up north of those towns were still slick, he said.
In Farmington five reports of accidents occured "all at one time" Monday morning as rain turned to sleet and ice covered area roads, said Farmington Police Officer William Tanner.
It was quiet and started to sprinkle then Wilton Police had four accidents reported. Then it came this way and just started going crazy, he said.
A Perham Street rollover sent one woman to the hospital, he said. Laura Elliott, 25, of Farmington was traveling West towards Farmington when she lost control of her Ford SUV and flipped at least twice, maybe more, he said. She had to be extricated from the vehicle.
Two passengers, her son Trevor Richards, 5, and Kayla Fowler, 17, of Farmington were out of the car when Tanner arrived at the scene.
Another accident closer to the Industry/Farmington town line sent an 87-year-0ld woman to the hospital, he said.
Melody Chase, 55, of Farmington was driving a 2010 Nissan Versa towards Farmington when she went off the icy road. Her passenger, Margaret Heath, 87, was taken to the hospital when she complained of chest pains and being cold. Tanner thought Chase may have broken or injured her hand in the accident.
Knowlton Corner Road was shut down for a while after Police Chief Jack Peck responded to a report of at least three vehicles sliding off the road at the bottom of the hill heading out on the road, said Farmington Police Department secretary Rachel Heseltine. There may have been more further up the road. It was a mess, she said.
Two people received minor injuries in Oxford Monday morning when their cars collided on a King Street bridge. One of the cars caught fire after the driver jumped out
According to Officer Eric Quatrano, the cars were driving north and south across the bridge about 9:30 a.m. when the driver of one car, Joanne Jacobs, 47, of Otisfield woman, lost control on the icy bridge and slammed head-on into another car driven by Christopher Parise, 23, of Oxford. Both drivers suffered minor cuts and bruises but refused transport to the hospital.
A roll-over East of Rocky Hill Landscaping in Wilton was one of the accidents reported in Wilton Monday morning. Emergency crews had to extricate someone from the vehicle that rolled and landedd up against the rocks.
In the River Valley, several accidents, including a jackknifing tractor-trailer truck on Route 2 in Dixfield were the result of the season's first freezing rain.
Dixfield police Chief Richard Pickett said at about 9:30 a.m., a 2006 truck jackknifed near Bill's Mill, tying up traffic for about two hours. The driver, who was not identified, was unhurt, but the cab and box of the truck sustained between $75,000 and $80,000 dollars.
Nearby in Dixfield, at least three vehicles slid off the Common Road, causing no injuries and only minor damage to the vehicles.
In Rumford, a woman rounding the rotary and entering Memorial Bridge at 9:05 a.m. a.m., slid into the bridge's handrail, causing $1,500 damage to the bridge and about $2,000 damage to Katherine Campbell's 2004 GMC sports utility vehicle. Campbell, 47, of Mexico, was unhurt.
On the Andover Road, also in Rumford, Mary Newall, 36, of Andover, was driving north when her 2000 Chevrolet sedan struck the guide wires of a utility pole, causing $5,000 damage to her vehicle. She was not injured and the pole was undamaged.
Glare ice on the Rumford Point Bridge was the cause of John White's 1993 Jeep Wrangler sliding into the bridge at 8:58 a.m. White, 44, of Woodstock, was driving north on Route 232 when he turned onto the bridge and lost control. The Jeep was destroyed but he was not hurt and the bridge was not damaged.
Personal injury associated with a vehicle sliding off Route 2 near the bottle depot in Mexico has been reported. No further information is available.