Roadway surface conditions may have been a factor in a serious car accident that occurred on a Route 1 viaduct in Bath last week. Around 2:30 p.m., 37-year-old Melissa Medina was driving south on the upper level of the viaduct, when she lost control of her Mercury SUV and smashed through the guardrail, plunging over the side of the bridge. Just moments earlier, Roy Ordway, who was entering an on-ramp to Route 1, used his windshield wipers to clear away what he figured was a large piece of ice. But mere seconds later, Medina’s SUV landed upside down on the bed of Ordway’s Ford pick-up, missing the cab by a few inches.
Bath Police Chief Michael Field confirmed that Medina’s 2003 Mountaineer went over the viaduct’s barricade in the southbound lane, knocking off a sizeable 50-foot section of aluminum guardrail that capped the top of the barrier. Medina was accompanied by her 12-year-old son at the time of the accident. Field said that Ordway escaped harm, while Medina and her son suffered from non-life-threatening injuries. Both she and her child were transported to Portland’s Maine Medical Center. As of last Wednesday, Medina’s condition was listed as stable. Authorities have not released information about the boy’s condition.
Windham woman survives SUV accident off Bath bridge
Ordway’s Ford F-150 truck was totally destroyed in the crash– save for the cab. “But all things considered, from what police and rescue are saying, I’m glad my truck was there to break the fall,” he told Bangor Daily News, adding “I think my truck took some of the impact away” from Medina’s SUV.
Bath police Lt. Robert Savary told reporters that he couldn’t confirm whether Ordway’s truck saved Medina and her son from certain death. Preliminary investigations into the accident suggest that Route 1 was extremely slick that Monday afternoon. Although crews had just salted the road shortly before the crash, some suspect black ice may have been a culprit. At this time, Bath police do not suspect distracted driving, speed or alcohol impairment were factors in the crash. Law enforcement said that charges will probably not be filed.
A Maine Department of Transportation spokesperson said that the impact of the collision “sheared off” the metal guardrail on the top of the barrier. With most other causes ruled out, officials suspect that roadway conditions may have played a role in the accident. Any motorists who saw the crash are urged to contact police Detective Sgt. Andrew Booth with additional information.
Integrity of guardrails a concern
Savary did not comment on the integrity of the aluminum guardrails on the Bath viaduct, which is slated to be demolished next month and replaced after serving Mainers for more than 70 years.
Per federal laws, all bridges across the nation must be inspected every two years. Local officials could not confirm when the Bath viaduct was last inspected for defects or necessary repairs. In the event that guardrails and barriers were not up to grade, injured parties may be able to pursue a civil claim against the municipality for monetary damages. Litigation based on improper or negligent road repairs may seek compensation to account for:
- Property damage
- Hospital bills
- Lost income
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
During winter, accidents caused by snow and black ice are also common. The most pivotal factor when considering liability in a car accident is whether or not the motorist acted reasonably, even in the presence of inclement weather and slick road conditions. When attempting to determine fault in these types of crashes, insurance adjustors look at multiple facets including speed at the time of the accident, whether the car’s tires were in good condition and if the vehicle had been properly serviced.
If you or someone you love was harmed in a motor vehicle accident in Maine, a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer can help you navigate insurance and legal issues. Hardy, Wolf and Downing can help you recover the auto accident settlement you deserve in the wake of a serious crash. You can arrange a free case review by calling our office at 1-800-INJURED.