I really enjoyed reading Warden John Ford’s last story titled, “Waldo County’s Bermuda Triangle,” which concerns a particularly unlucky half-mile along Route 3 in Searsmont.

In 1982 when I transferred into the Waldo County area, John filled me in about all the happenings in that small triangular section. It was somewhat hard to believe that so much could happen in one spot, but it wasn’t long after I started patrolling the area that I became a believer. Whenever I drove through the area, the huge pine tree with the large burn mark at its base was a constant reminder of the horrific death of the motorist who struck it and burned to death.

I took extra precaution patrolling those parts, never knowing what might happen. I have a few incidents to be added to John’s list. For instance, he didn’t mention that the Moody Mountain manhunt culminated just outside this location. These guys probably had walked right through Waldo County’s Bermuda Triangle.

Another incident that comes to mind is a severe motor vehicle crash. Trooper Stanley Cunningham lived not too many miles from this area and sometimes our patrol areas got a little skewed due to a shortage of manpower.

At the time, Stan patrolled Knox County and I patrolled Waldo County. Early one morning, I got a call from Maine State Police Headquarters of a personal-injury motor vehicle crash on Route 3 near the Searsmont/Belmont line. The person was trapped. I knew Stan could get there at least 30 minutes before I could, so before heading out, I called Stan at his home and informed him of what had happened. Stan headed right out and, if not for his actions, the outcome might well have been very different. Stan probably saved this man’s life.

Also along that stretch, when then-Trooper Aaron Hayden was responding to a tactical team call, his cruiser left the road and rolled over several times in a spectacular crash. Aaron was not familiar with the history of this area and I am sure that if he had been, he would have slowed while passing through the Triangle. I know I always did, because the area gave me the heebie-jeebies.

And I can’t not mention the night when then-Trooper Tom Ballard was involved in a high-speed chase. The bumper of his cruiser and the bumper of the suspect vehicle locked together, causing both vehicles to leave the road and flip upside down. In a later column, I will tell this harrowing story in greater detail, so you’ll have to wait for that.

One more incident occurred at ground zero in the triangle. I have mentioned it before but it’s worth repeating. I didn’t mention previously that this took place right in the heart of the triangle because I didn’t want to open up the can of worms and have people wonder what I was talking about. But since John-Boy opened up the can of worms, I can mention it now.

I really did venture carefully through this area. Late one night inside the dreaded triangle, I tried to stop a driver on suspicion of drunken driving. The motorist refused to pull over and then turned into a driveway. The operator proceeded to jump out of his vehicle and run into the woods.

I was in hot pursuit.

Several things raced through my mind. First, I am not a long-distance runner and I knew I had better catch him quickly or I would run out of steam. Secondly, I knew I was at ground zero in the triangle and I wasn’t too sure that a bolt of lightning would not flash out of the sky and strike me and I might die in the woods. So the trick was to end the race as quickly as possible.

That is when I remembered one of John’s tales about chasing a night hunter through the woods and lighting him up with a flashlight so as not to lose him. But John discovered that all he was doing was showing the night hunter where to flee. So John turned off his flashlight and his suspect ran smack-dab into a tree and knocked himself out.

It worked for John, so I was willing to see if it would work for me.

I turned off my flashlight and sure enough, just a few more steps and I heard a big thud. I turned on my flashlight and there was my suspect, fresh from ramming into a tree. It didn’t take long to handcuff him, get him to the cruiser and lug him to jail. And I want to let you know, I was never more happy to get away from the triangle alive and well.

Just another day in the life.

Mark Nickerson is a retired Maine State Police Trooper. The 28-year veteran lives in Unity. The award-winning columnist may be reached at menick@uninet.net.