Route 17 in Rockport near Grassy Pond reopens following tractor trailer crash
ROCKPORT — A tractor trailer truck carrying Burger King food products overturned on Route 17, Monday, Nov. 27, sending the driver to the hospital, and shutting the road down for several hours. The highway reopened at 12:45 p.m.
At 7:53 a.m., Knox County Communications Center was notified of the single-vehicle accident just shy of the border with Hope. From the east side, traffic was rerouted along Hope Street.
The accident prompted a response by Rockport police and fire departments, North East Ambulance, Maine Department of Transportation, assistance from a couple of Hope firefighters, and a Northeast Transport truck.
Rockport Fire Chief Jason Peasley said 17 Rockport firefighters and six Hope firefighters responded immediately to the scene and placed booms along the guard rail and speedy dry (kitty litter) down to absorb the leaking diesel fluids and prevent them from running into Grassy Pond.
According to Rockport Police Officer Christopher Taylor, the driver is believed to have caught a soft shoulder during the rainstorm while traveling west, causing him to lose control before striking a telephone pole.
All hands on deck, from EMT to MDOT to wrecker operator, created a human conveyor belt, moving box after box of at least half a load from the disabled truck to the replacement carrier. The torrential rains continued for the entire four-hour period the responders were at the scene.
“That’s the good thing about DOT being able to scrounge up six or eight guys, the fire department having so many people here,” Taylor said. “We are very fortunate.”
Taylor estimated that the production took about an hour. The helpers were then rewarded with coffee and doughnuts courtesy of the daughter of one of the wrecker operators.
Two wreckers, from All Directions and Automaster towing, attached chains to the disabled truck’s undercarriage. They then used a remote pulley system to drag the truck upright.
Rockport Fire Chief Jason Peasley thanks Hope Fire Department, North East Mobile Health Service ambulance crews, members of the Maine Dept. of Transportation crew, members of Warren state prison farm crew, and North East Transport trucking company for all their hands in helping unloaded the loaded tractor trailer and transporting bags to an empty truck.
ROCKPORT — A section of Route 17 in Rockport near Grassy Pond has been closed this morning as Rockport and Hope firefighters tend to a tractor trailer rollover. They are unloading freight from the truck, one box at a time.
Camden-Rockport Police Chief Randy Gagne said at 11:30 a.m. that the truck is now back on its wheels and the road should be open again within the hour.
Meanwhile, diesel leaking from a truck tank at the crash has put Maine Water in gear to protect drinking water.
Maine Water Company is coordinating with first responders as Grassy Pond and Mirror Lake are the public water supply sources for Maine Water’s customers in the Camden/Rockland area.
Grassy Pond and Mirror Lake serve the six communities of Rockport, Camden, Rockland, Thomaston, Owls Head and Warren.
“Maine Water Company officials want to assure our customers that here is no risk to the water being supplied in our system as a result of the event,” said Maine Water. “Mirror Lake is not impacted in any way and is able to meet all customer demands. There will be no impact on water quality or service to customers.
“Response efforts to prevent any fuel spill from reaching Grassy Pond appear successful. We are not withdrawing water from Grassy Pond at this time and will ensure that all spill response measures deemed necessary to protect the public health and necessary water testing is complete before that supply is activated.
We thank the Rockport and Hope Fire Departments and the DEP for their prompt response this morning.”
This story will be updated when more details become available.