UPDATE: ROCKPORT — A Thomaston man was rescued by Good Samaritans after his Grand Cherokee Jeep left the highway and landed in Chickawaukie Lake this evening, March 23.
The call came in to Knox County Communications Center in Rockland just before 5:45 p.m., Friday, March 23, reporting that vehicle that had gone off of Route 17 and into the lake. The highway runs alongside Chickawaukie through a portion of Rockport and Rockland.
Jonathan Marr, 35, of South Thomaston, was driving the 1999 Cherokee, heading east on Route 17 when his vehicle entered the lake, according to Camden-Rockport Police Chief Randy Gagne.
Marr traveled approximately 100 feet into the water, he said.
John McLeod, 25, of Wiscasset, and Thomas Parhiala, 21, of Salem, New Hampshire, witnessed the accident, and jumped into the water to pull Marr from the Jeep, said firefighters and police.
Andre LeBlond, who was traveling Route 17, as well, stopped and witnessed the two pulling Marr to shore and out of the water.
Shawn Simmons, of Kentucky, and who is father of Marr, has disputed the statements that his son had been rescued, saying he swam to shore alone, as his son relayed the accident to him. Marr remained in the hospital as of March 26, his father said.
In a phone interview Tuesday, March 27, the morning after his release from Maine Medical Center in Portland, Marr disputed the accounts from officials, McLeod and witnesses. Marr said no one got in the water, helped him out of the jeep or helped him get to shore. When he reached shore, people helped pull him up, he said. Marr said he thought he was going to die, and he was able to save himself only by the will to live for his children.
Rockport firefighters and police responded, with the assistance of Rockland Police and North East Mobile Health Services.
Members of the Rockport Fire Department Cold Water Rescue unit entered the water and confirmed there were no other passengers.
Marr was transported to Pen Bay Medical Center in Rockport with complaints of pain, Gagne said.
The vehicle was being removed from the lake this evening. The accident remains under investigation, said Gagne. Further details will be released at a later time.
Reach Editorial Director Lynda Clancy at firstname.lastname@example.org; 207-706-6657. Wiscasset Paper Assistant Editor Susan Johns contributed to this article.