ARUNDEL — A 69-year-old Saco man died Sunday morning after losing control of his pickup truck on any icy bridge near the Arundel-Biddeford town line and crashing into a utility pole, according to police.

Richard R. Johnson Sr. was killed in the single-vehicle crash, according to Chief Deputy William King Jr. of the York County Sheriff’s Office. Johnson was driving his 2005 GMC pickup truck south on Route 1, also called Portland Road, when he lost control around 7:30 a.m. on the bridge that separates Biddeford from Arundel.

The truck went over a raised median, crossed the northbound lane, struck a guardrail and rolled onto its side, where it “seemed to ride along the guardrail,” before crashing into the pole.

“When first responders arrived, the bridge was iced over and slippery,” King said in a news release, adding that the road conditions are believed to be “the only causal factor in this crash.”

As of 1:30 p.m., Route 1 remained shut down while utility workers repair the damaged pole and the York County Sheriff’s Office reconstructs the crash.

Emergency officials urged Mainers to use caution on the roads Sunday morning. A light, cold rain fell over much of the state. Despite relatively warm temperatures, the precipitation made roads treacherous throughout the morning and early afternoon.

Most reported crashes were minor, but they were everywhere, from Aroostook to Cumberland counties.

Asked early Sunday whether emergency dispatchers were fielding many calls regarding crashes or cars off the road, a Penobscot County dispatcher responded, “More than you’d imagine.”

State police in Augusta, Bangor and elsewhere were responding to multiple reports of vehicles sliding off Interstate 95 during the morning hours. An state police dispatcher in Augusta said Sunday morning that they were very busy taking all the calls, but weren’t aware of any road closures.

“Though that could change at any time,” the dispatcher said.

Around 11 a.m., Maine DOT announced that Route 9 in Amherst would be closed for several hours, due to the amount of ice on the road. It reopened early Sunday afternoon.


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