Police & Fire

Caribou ambulance heavily damaged after striking utility pole in Monticello

A Caribou ambulance struck this utility pole in Bridgewater early Friday morning as it was travelling north. Power was knocked out for several hours, but restored by 8:30 a.m. (Contributed photo/Maine State Police)

MONTICELLO, Maine — A Caribou ambulance sustained extensive damage early Friday morning and knocked out power to the area after the driver reportedly fell asleep behind the wheel and struck a utility pole. Neither the driver nor the passenger, another EMT, were injured, according to police.

Nicholas Pelletier, 18, of Caribou was traveling north on U.S. Route 1 in a 2009 Ford Ambulance for the Caribou Ambulance service around 12:51 a.m. when he told police he fell asleep behind the wheel, drifted off the right-hand side of the road and hit  a utility pole.

The impact caused extensive damage to the front end of the ambulance, according to a press release issued Friday by Maine State Police Cpl. Dennis Quint.

Quint said the ambulance was not transporting a patient at the time of the crash. However, a second EMT, John Thornton, 49, of Woodland  was in the back section of the rig at the time of the crash.

Neither occupant was injured in the crash, Quint said.

U.S. Route 1 was closed for about three hours due to power lines having been knocked down into the roadway.

“The pole broke away from the base and a power transformer dislodged and fell to the ground,” Quint said. “The power lines became tangled in the trees, causing a power surge leading to the outage.”

A crews from Emera Maine responded, removed the lines from the roadway, and had power restored to all affected customers by about 8:30 a.m. Friday. Cable television service also was knocked out by the crash and had yet to be restored by 10:30 a.m. Friday.

Bob Potts of Emera Maine said the initial outage caused an interruption to about 300 customers.

“Emera Maine crews were able to re-route circuits to restore power to all but 149 of those by 4 a.m.,” he said. “Once Fairpoint set a new pole and we transferred wires we got everyone restored around 8:30 this morning.”

The ambulance had to be towed from the scene. The crash remains under investigation.
It marks the second time in a month that an ambulance driver reported falling asleep behind the wheel. On July 12, a Fort Kent ambulance overturned while traveling north on Route 11 at 4 a.m.

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