Victim in Route 1 road work accident in Searsport identified
Searsport — Police have identified the victim in a fatal road work accident that occurred on Route 1 Thursday afternoon, Aug. 18.
Weston B. Haskell III, 58, of Frankfort, was killed when a dump truck backed over him at a work scene near Kidder Point Road, according to Searsport Police Chief Dick LaHaye.
Speaking Friday morning, Aug. 19, LaHaye said Haskell was working as a site inspector for A. E. Hodsdon, a Waterville-based engineering firm, in connection with a water line replacement project that has been taking place along Route 1 in Searsport and Stockton Springs for several weeks now.
RF Jordan and Sons, out of Ellsworth, is the main contractor on the project, according to LaHaye, who said the company was hired by the Searsport Water District to do the work.
LaHaye said a dump truck belonging to RF Jordan and Sons backed over Haskell around 4 p.m. Thursday afternoon. LaHaye said that although he is not a medical examiner, everything police have learned as a result of their investigation suggests that Haskell died immediately after being struck by the construction vehicle.
LaHaye declined to identify the driver of the dump truck.
Police were notified of the incident just after 4 o'clock, LaHaye said, and Officer Ryan Nickerson was the first officer on scene. LaHaye was on another complaint when the call came in, but he joined Nickerson at the scene shortly thereafter.
All work at the site was shut down after the incident occurred Thursday afternoon, LaHaye said, and fire and ambulance personnel from Searsport also responded to the scene. The Maine State Police Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Unit responded, and the Waldo County Sheriff's Office also assisted initially, according to LaHaye.
Route 1 was initially reduced to one-lane traffic, with flaggers alternating northbound and southbound traffic around the crash site. On a weekday summer evening, however, traffic quickly backed up along the coastal thoroughfare — in the hour immediately following the incident, traffic was seen backed up to around Hamilton Marine, south of the crash scene, and to around Just Barb's Restaurant in Stockton Springs, north of the crash scene.
LaHaye said authorities later made the decision to utilize an alternate route around Searsport, sending northbound traffic up Mount Ephraim Road and then across Nickels Road (which becomes North Searsport Road in Prospect), eventually coming out on Route 1A at the Prospect Fire Station. Route 1 reopened for traffic later Thursday night.
LaHaye said the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has been called in to investigate the incident.
No crews were at the work scene Friday morning. LaHaye said RF Jordan and Sons made the decision not to work on Friday.