Police: Man who ditched car left trail of evidence in snow
Morrill — A Swanville driver was charged Monday, Feb. 25, as a result of a single-vehicle accident that occurred Friday, Feb. 8, after which, police say, the man fled the scene on foot, as evidenced by footprints he left in the snow.
Stephen Clements, 43, was charged with failure to give notice of an accident by the quickest means, leaving the scene of a property-damage accident and operating an unregistered motor vehicle for greater than 150 days.
Lt. Jason Trundy of the Waldo County Sheriff's Office said police responded to the report of a vehicle that had gone off the road on Main Street in Morrill just before 11 p.m. Feb. 8. The vehicle, Trundy said, had struck a tree head-on and both the driver-side and passenger-side airbags deployed as a result of the impact.
When police arrived, Trundy said, it was apparent that the driver — later identified as Clements — had left the scene.
"There was a set of footprints heading off into the woods from the car," Trundy said.
Police followed the footprints through the woods and back out to the road.
Officers tried calling Clements — the registration identified him as the owner — but were unable to reach him because the number police called had been disconnected.
The following day, Trundy said, Clements left a message at the sheriff's office stating that he had gone off the road the previous night, but when he went back for his vehicle, it was gone.
When asked why he did not report the crash, Trundy said, Clements stated that his cell phone battery was dying, so he obtained a ride to a relative's home and then went to a friend's house.