Sleepy Route 2 driver takes out utility pole, damages parked pickup

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GILEAD — Route 2 was shut down for an hour Saturday after the driver of a westbound car fell asleep in a straightaway, drove across a field and slammed into a utility pole, police said.

Driver Jody A. Conant, 20, and passengers Susan Lord, 42, and Riley McGee, 13, all of Stetson, were not injured in the 2 p.m. accident, although one passenger complained of neck pain, Oxford County Sheriff’s Sgt. Timothy Holland said. He didn’t know which one.

“He woke up after hitting the pole,” Holland said of Conant, who was driving a 2002 Subaru Outback. “Everybody in the vehicle was asleep.”

All three were wearing seat belts.

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The car, which was destroyed, traveled several hundred feet across the field parallel to Route 2 before colliding with the utility pole, according to its tire tracks. It narrowly missed hitting one house.

Holland said the severed pole was thrown onto a parked 2002 GMC pickup owned by Arthur Taylor of 403 Gilead Road, causing an estimated $4,000 to $5,000 in damage to the pickup.

The collision also dropped live power lines over the highway at Taylor’s mailbox and ripped electrical wires from three homes, forcing Gilead firefighters to close the road, Assistant Chief Richard Saunders said.

“I was worried about the wires, which were still live and hanging over the road,” he said.

Traffic on Route 2 was reduced to one lane for a few hours after a Central Maine Power Co. crew removed the wires, installed a new utility pole and reattached power lines to the three houses.

tkarkos@sunjournal.com

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