GILEAD — Two Bethel men were arrested and jailed on Tuesday night after police say they were involved in a high-speed rollover in the construction zone on Route 2.
Investigating Oxford County Sheriff’s Deputy George Cayer charged Jason Samuel-Curtis York, 29, of 291 Walkers Mills Road (Route 26), with operating under the influence (second offense), and operating after suspension, and Tony L. Bennett, 44, of 186 Flat Road, with permitting unlawful use of a motor vehicle.
By Wednesday, both men were released from Oxford County Jail in Paris and will be arraigned on Aug. 3 in Rumford District Court.
Cayer said the incident happened at about 6:51 p.m.
“Speed and alcohol were involved in the crash,” he said.
Based on statements by witnesses, Cayer said York was driving Bennett’s 2005 GMC extended cab pickup truck east on a dirt section of Route 2 when he passed a tractor-trailer truck.
“Shortly after the pass, there was a short right curve where the dirt changed to tar and the (pickup) went out of control on the wrong side of the roadway,” Cayer said. “It almost struck two females head-on who were in a sport-utility vehicle headed west when York went into the opposite lane.”
Cayer said the SUV driver stated in her report that “Jason was going ditch-to-ditch and then back in her lane.”
After narrowly missing the SUV, Cayer said the pickup spun 90 degrees, crossed both lanes, struck the east-bound lane curb and rolled over onto its roof.
Both men, who weren’t injured, got out on their own and York took off running, the deputy said.
“When I got the call, I was advised that one subject was fleeing the scene and the other subject was throwing beer bottles, etc., into the woods,” Cayer said.
He said Bethel Animal Control Officer Ozzie Hart found York near the Gilead Fire Station and took him back to the crash scene.
“Both (York and Bennett) denied driving and said a third person was there, but I have witnesses who said that only two people were in the vehicle,” Cayer said. “Witnesses helped establish who was operating the vehicle.”
Cayer said York has four active suspensions on his driver’s license with no reinstatements. These include a prior OUI conviction on Feb. 13, 2001, and three suspensions due to failure to pay fines in January and March 2001, and March 12, 2007.