FREEDOM — A 73-year-old man was hospitalized Monday after he was pinned underneath his ATV for several hours before being found by searchers, according to the state Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

Ralph Littlefield Jr. was driving the ATV on his property around 2 p.m. when a front wheel caught a muddy rut while he was on a slope, causing the ATV to tumble over and come to rest on top of Littlefield, department spokesman Mark Latti said in a statement.

Littlefield and his wife have a practice of making contact if they haven’t heard from one another for three hours, and the woman began making phone calls when she couldn’t reach him. Neighbors and emergency personnel eventually found Littlefield pinned underneath the ATV, conscious and alert, according to Latti.

He was carried out on a litter and taken by ambulance to a hospital. A LifeFlight of Maine helicopter was on standby but was not needed.

The Maine Warden Service responded to the scene along with firefighters from China, Freedom, Liberty, Montville, Palermo and Vassalboro.

Freedom is on the western edge of Waldo County, adjacent to Albion and Unity.

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