NEWRY — A New Hampshire logging truck driver escaped serious injury Thursday morning after he lost control of the rig and it rolled off Route 26, spilling a load of birch logs, police said.
Christopher Shannon, 26, of Groveton, N.H., complained of back pain to a Med-Care ambulance crew but declined a ride to the hospital, Oxford County Deputy Sheriff Michael Halacy said.
The truck owner, Ron Lyons Trucking LLC of Colebrook, N.H., was cited by the Maine State Police Commercial Vehicle Division for having air brakes out of adjustment.
“One brake was inoperable,” Halacy said.
The accident happened at 7:45 a.m. after the rig exited an S-turn and was traveling up a slight incline just south of the Newry-Grafton Township line.
Halacy said Shannon was driving a 2000 Peterbilt loaded with tree-length birch to a chip mill in West Paris.
Shannon told Halacy that as he came into the corner he was trying to hug the centerline, but the rig went off the road and rolled over onto its right side, scattering the hardwood.
Halacy said the rig “slid a ways” and the load hit a large white pine and a utility pole. He said there wasn't any bark on the pine because it had been hit by logs spilled in two previous logging truck rollovers.
“Newry firefighters told me this was the third tractor-trailer rollover here in the last 10 years,” he said.
He attributed the accident to speed and improperly adjusted brakes. He said every wheel on the six-axle truck has brakes.
“He was driving too fast for the road conditions, but not over the speed limit,” Halacy said. “The trucker told me the road tips the wrong way there, so he knew he should have slowed down.”
Route 26 was shut down for four hours while the logs were cleaned up and truck towed. Halacy said an unknown amount of diesel fuel spilled from a ruptured tank, prompting a call to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.
The fuel was contained and removed by a Maine Department of Transportation crew, which also rebuilt the gouged road shoulder with loads of gravel and dirt.
A Rumford logger from Route 232 who was held up in traffic behind the accident used his self-loader to help remove logs, Halacy said.
After the truck inspection on a nearby side road, M/T Pockets of Dixfield towed it to Groveton, N.H.