PARIS – An Oxford man survived a rollover crash along Cottage Street late Wednesday night but only after his truck sailed 150 feet into the woods and he spent more than three hours crawling around in the dark before rescuers could locate him Thursday morning.

Police said Cleon Dyer, 27, suffered a shattered femur and other injuries but was able to call police from a cell phone after somehow making his way back to his demolished truck. He was listed in stable condition at a Lewiston hospital late Thursday night.

For several hours beginning late Wednesday night, police and fire crews from three towns searched for the wreckage of the crash, using global positioning and other techniques.

It began about 10 p.m. when a caller reported hearing the scream of tires followed by a crash somewhere near the Paris/Norway line.

Police scoured the area but found no sign of a crash in the area, according to Paris police Officer Nate Bowie. The problem, he said, was that the truck, a Ford Ranger, had sailed nearly 160 feet into the woods along Cottage Street. There were no skid marks left behind in the road.

“It would be surprising if someone could have seen it even in daylight,” Bowie said.

Then about 1:30 a.m., a call came into the Maine State Police barracks from a man who said he had crashed his car and did not know exactly where he was.

Police don’t know if Dyer was unconscious for some of the time between the initial report of a crash or if he had been wandering around in the dark the whole time.

“He had crawled back to his vehicle,” Bowie said. “He just sort of sat slumped there and called Maine State Police.”

Dyer’s ordeal was not over. Although police, fire and rescue crews now knew they had an injured victim, they could not find him in the woods. Global positioning revealed a location on nearby Carter Street, but the crashed truck was not found there.

Police from Norway, Paris and Oxford drove through the area sounding their sirens, but there was no immediate response.

“He later told us he could hear us going by but he had no way to respond,” Bowie said.

Finally, about 2:45 a.m., paramedics from Pace Ambulance made a check of Cottage Street and discovered the mangled Ford Ranger out in the woods.

Dyer was first taken to Stephens Memorial Hospital before he was brought to Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston. He was listed in stable condition late Thursday night, a spokesman said.

The cause of the crash remained under investigation.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.