DIXFIELD — A Brewer man escaped a dramatic rollover on Route 142 with minor injuries after swerving his sport-utility vehicle to avoid a deer at noon on Friday, Dixfield police Chief Richard A. Pickett said.

Mark McKunes, 25, complained of pain in his neck and back but refused treatment, Pickett said.

Pickett said McKunes was driving a company-owned 1995 GMC Jimmy south from Avon on Route 142 to secure a house foreclosure in Dixfield when a deer ran out in front of him.

McKunes is employed by property preservation company Lockdown in Bangor.

Route 142 is also known as Weld Street in Dixfield.

McKunes, Pickett said, immediately swerved to the right and onto the gravel shoulder, which, due to the rainy summer and Friday’s heavy rainstorm, was overly saturated and soft.

“He corrected back onto the tar and the front wheels made it, but the rear wheels didn’t,” Pickett said. “That caused the SUV to spin 360 degrees, which flipped it onto its roof. Then, the SUV did a 180 on its roof and flipped upright onto its tires, ending up facing back in the same direction it came.”

The black SUV landed mostly in the southbound lane and right beside a white cross.

The cross was posted in memory of a man who died in a Lewiston hospital of injuries sustained in the winter of 2002 when his car slid on slush into a utility pole, Pickett said. 

He said that Donald Whittemore of Lisbon, a passerby headed north to Weld, saw Friday’s accident happen, called 911 and went to the aid of McKunes.

“He was still in the SUV when the first person got there and helped him out, because he couldn’t get the door open,” Pickett said.

When Pickett arrived, he said McKunes “was standing in the road and shaking like a leaf in shock.”

Pickett said McKunes, who was wearing a safety belt, was lucky to escape with minor injuries, because the impact blew out the tempered-glass windows and the windshield.

“His seat belt contributed to him staying in the car,” Pickett said. “Without a windshield, it could have been a very serious accident But the seat belt kept him in and he held onto the steering wheel so hard.”

If there was an airbag in the SUV, it didn’t deploy.

That stretch of Route 142 in Dixfield is known for deer and moose accidents because it passes through a wooded, swampy area. In the past three years, there have been 14 accidents there, three with injury, Pickett said.

“Mostly, cars just slide off in the winter time,” he said.

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Dixfield fire Chief Scott Dennett examines damage to a 1995 GMC Jimmy that rolled over on Route 142 in Dixfield on Friday. The driver of the GMC lost control while trying to avoid hitting a deer. Dixfield firefighters in the background remove accident debris from the road.

Dixfield fire Capt. Derek Bryant cleans debris from this totaled 1995 GMC Jimmy off Route 142 on Friday after the sport-utility vehicle’s driver tried to avoid a deer in the road, lost control, spun and rolled over landing on its wheels facing back the way from which it came. The driver suffered minor injuries but refused treatment, police said.

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