RUMFORD — An elderly Mexico woman suffered a fright Thursday afternoon when two rear wheels fell off a loaded chip truck and slammed into her station wagon, police said.
Irene Thibodeau, 78, wasn't injured, but she was “shaken up,” Sgt. Doug Maifeld said Friday morning.
Driving a 2008 Taurus, Thibodeau was stopped on Prospect Avenue waiting for traffic to pass on Route 2 before pulling onto the highway when the bizarre accident happened at 1 p.m. by Adley's Auto Sales, Maifeld said.
Donald Luxton, 57, of Bethel, who was driving east on Route 2 in a 2004 Western tractor-trailer for Richard Carrier Trucking of Skowhegan, was taking a load of wood chips to the NewPage Corp. paper mill in Rumford.
Maifeld said lug nuts on the two wheels came off, sending the wheels rolling down the road into the Taurus, causing an estimated $4,000 in damage.
The wheels bounced off the car, each landing on opposite sides of it.
Luxton, who was unaware of the incident, continued on to the paper mill, prompting an equally odd radio call alerting responders, Maifeld said.
“It came in as a tractor-trailer lost an axle that hit a car and went over an embankment,” he said.
When he arrived on the scene, Maifeld said the chip truck was nowhere to be found, “so I put the word out.”
Med-Care Ambulance and Rumford firefighters arrived to tend to Thibodeau and direct traffic, while Maifeld headed for the mill to find the chip truck, he said.
Maifeld said the tractor-trailer also lost a drum well while traveling over the Androscoggin River on Morse Bridge on Route 108.
Luxton “didn't realize he lost them, and he was pretty shook up when he heard he lost them, and worried that they had hurt someone,” Maifeld said. “He was very apologetic.”
Maifeld said Luxton told him he had checked all of the wheels earlier that morning and they were fine.