Scarborough man dies in 5-car pileup on Route 1 in Searsport
Searsport — A Scarborough man was killed and a local couple were critically injured in a five-vehicle car crash early Tuesday afternoon, Jan. 19, on Route 1.
Searsport Police Chief Dick LaHaye said Thomas Marsden, 53, of Scarborough died later Tuesday afternoon, shortly after he was taken to Waldo County General Hospital by ambulance.
A Searsport couple, 63-year-old Lois Pelczar and her passenger, 67-year-old Richard Pelczar, were taken to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor after they were initially taken by ambulance to WCGH. As of Wednesday morning, the Pelczars remained in critical condition.
Marsden was operating a 2004 Mercury Marquis, while the Pelczars were traveling in a 2005 Dodge Caravan.
LaHaye said the Pelczars and Marsden were trapped in their respective vehicles, and the Searsport Fire Department had to use the Jaws of Life to extricate them.
The other drivers involved in the crash were 69-year-old James Rose of Searsport, who was operating a 2006 Mitsubishi pickup truck, 62-year-old Armand Cookson, who was driving a 2008 Suzuki, and 58-year-old Jolanta Kellock of Searsport, who was operating a 2005 Mercury Mountaineer. Rose, Cookson and Kellock were all uninjured.
The crash took place just before 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, according to LaHaye, at the intersection of Spruce Knoll Lane and Route 1. That location is very near the Belfast/Searsport town line.
Wednesday morning, police were still trying to figure out exactly what happened. LaHaye said it appeared that a vehicle coming out of Spruce Knoll Lane ended up on Route 1 and caused a chain-reaction collision.
"It's hard to say," he said, regarding what caused the crash. "We're still investigating."
Route 1 traffic in both directions was shut down from the time of the crash until about 5 p.m. Tuesday. Southbound traffic was rerouted up Prospect Street, across the Back Searsport Road and down Swan Lake Avenue in Belfast, while northbound traffic followed the same path in the opposite direction.
LaHaye said extra sand was put on the side roads to accommodate the increased traffic, and emergency personnel were positioned at each end to direct traffic.
In addition to Searsport police, Maine State Police and the Belfast Police Department responded to the crash. State police reconstructed the accident scene, LaHaye said. Fire and EMS personnel from Searsport also responded to the crash and helped transport the injured to the hospital, in addition to helping with traffic control.
Total damage to the five vehicles involved was estimated at $36,000.