CARRABASSETT VALLEY – Slush-covered roads and too much speed for the conditions, police said, were to blame for the death of a 22-year-old driver this morning.
At 8:15 a.m., Craig Morin of Whitefield was southbound on Route 27 after visiting with his mother Karen Hutchinson of Stratton, when the 1997 Geo Prism sedan he was driving slid into the northbound lane and crashed into a pickup truck.
“Morin was killed instantly as a result of the impact,” Carrabassett Valley Police Chief Scott Nichols said.
The driver of the Dodge Ram pickup, Martin Tomich, 59, of Hackettstown, N.J., suffered facial lacerations but refused transport to the hospital. Tomich was heading north to ski for the day.
According to Nichols, Morin’s car lost control in the windy and narrow stretch of Route 27 near the Touring Center entrance. After snow fell much of the night and light rain continued this morning, the roads were covered with a thick layer of slippery slush. Under good driving conditions the road in that area south of Carrabassett Valley Academy is 50 mph. But due to the slushy conditions, Nichols said safe traveling speeds should have been much slower.
Following the accident, Route 27 was completely closed for 40 minutes as emergency crews from NorthStar ambulance service, the Carrabassett Valley Fire Department, Nichols, Officer Wallace Spencer and Trooper Aaron Turcotte of the Maine State Police helped at the scene. One traffic lane was eventually opened to allow for traffic flow to continue during the busy morning rush to work.
Nichols said drivers need to be cautious when road conditions are poor.
“The lesson here is to slow down and take the extra time,” he said, and, “arrive alive.”
Photo: Carrabassett Valley Police Department