BETHEL — A Rhode Island man was seriously injured Monday evening when the pickup truck he was driving crossed the centerline on Route 2 and struck a tractor-trailer from Indiana, the Oxford County Sheriff’s Office said Tuesday.

Damien Shuler, 39, of Lincoln, Rhode Island, was hauling a trailer behind a 2001 Dodge Ram 2500 east on the highway, also known as West Bethel Road, Chief Deputy James Urquhart wrote in a news release Tuesday afternoon. The truck crossed into the path of an oncoming 2018 Freightliner from Indiana driven by Christopher Wakeland, 28, of Fairburn, Georgia, about 6:55 p.m near 764 West Bethel Road.

The collision caused heavy damage to the pickup’s front driver’s side and destroyed the trailer Shuler was hauling. Wakeland could not avoid the collision, which caused heavy damage to the front driver’s side of the rig, Urquhart said.

The truck was loaded with mattresses and pillows destined for Vermont, he said.

Shuler was unconscious at the scene and flown by LifeFlight to Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston. His passenger, Robert Kent, 34, of Lincoln, Rhode Island, suffered minor injuries and was taken to Stephens Memorial Hospital in Norway, the chief deputy said.

Wakeland was not injured.

The Sheriff’s Office, Bethel Fire Department, Bethel Rescue and PACE Ambulance Service were at the scene, and Maine State Police assisted and reconstructed the crash.

Traffic was slowed for several hours during the investigation Monday and the road was fully opened later in the evening.


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