WATERFORD – A Fryeburg couple and five children were hurt Monday afternoon when their car lost its brakes coming down steep Mill Hill, rolled onto its side or roof, slid across routes 35/37 and landed upside down in City Brook.

Michelle Boucher, 33, of North Fryeburg Road was listed in critical condition at Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston on Monday night, a nursing supervisor said. Her husband, Burnham R. Boucher, 34, was listed in good condition. The extent of their injuries was not released.

Cpl. Tim Ontengco of the Oxford County Sheriff’s Department said Monday night that Burnham Boucher told him the family was returning home from a shopping trip to Wal-Mart in Oxford when the accident occurred at 12:30 p.m. Burnham was driving his 1988 Buick station wagon down Mill Hill Road in South Waterford when the brakes failed, he said.

The car hit a tree on Mill Hill Road, rolled and went sliding down the hill, across the state highway and down a steep bank into City Brook, he said.

The couple were still in the brook when rescue and fire personnel arrived on the scene, Ontengco and witnesses said. Both were conscious and were flown to the Lewiston hospital.

With the Bouchers were two 17-year-old boys, a 15-year-old girl, a 9-year-old girl and a young boy whose age was not known. The children were all Boucher family members or friends, Ontengco said.

The children climbed up the bank and went to a house on Sweden Road, several yards from the accident scene, before rescue personnel arrived, Ontengco said.

“We had no idea that the kids were even there,” he said.

Respondents from the state Game Warden Service, Stoneham Rescue, United Ambulance and the Waterford Fire Department first dealt with the challenge of getting the driver and his wife, who had to be removed from the vehicle, up the steep brook embankment.

Charles Fillebrown Jr. of Stoneham Rescue was one of the first people on the scene. The woman, he said, was pinned underneath the vehicle with two broken arms and possible a broken leg.

“Her husband was down there trying to help us and then he went face first,” Fillebrown said, describing how the man collapsed into the mud of the brook, possibly in shock.

Both the driver and his wife were lifted up the bank on backboards, the rescue workers lining up to pass the boards up toward the ambulances parked on Route 37.

The other passengers were all taken to Bridgton Hospital for treatment. Some were lifted on backboards, and one of the young men was in a neck brace.

Ruth Jennings of 1 Sweden Road may have been the only witness to the accident. She was sitting in her front yard when it occurred.

“I was sitting there in the chair and I heard a noise and I saw a station wagon sliding down the hill,” Jennings said Monday as rescuers treated the young passengers who had made their way to her lawn. The car was sliding so fast, she said, “I didn’t even wait to see – I ran inside and said to my son, call 911.”

Her son, Bill Jennings, said they weren’t even sure whether people had been injured when they dialed. Rescue personnel were on the scene in less than five minutes, he said.

The accident, Ruth Jennings said, “will make us go around the next time.”



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