A tractor-trailer carrying 30,000 pounds of live lobsters from Nova Scotia overturned early Wednesday morning on Interstate 95 southbound during whiteout conditions, according to the driver and state police.
The driver, Horst Puff, 55, of Greenfield, Nova Scotia, and his dog, Banjo, 10, were not injured in the crash, which occurred around midnight Tuesday as Puff tried to avoid striking a vehicle that had spun out in front of him, both he and state police Trooper Joseph Chretien said at the scene later Wednesday.
“I’m OK,” Puff said, as he stood on I-95, his back against the wind. “There were dry roads from Bangor down to here. Everything was OK.”
He said then there was blowing snow, whiteout conditions and a car in front of him. “The car hit the brakes. I hit the brakes,” he said. “I saw nothing and came too far left and tipped over and Banjo went on top of me. He was on my chest.”
The car that was in front of the truck never stopped, and the driver’s identity is not known, police said.
The truck came to rest in the median about two miles north of exit 133 and near the Fairfield town line. There it stayed all day Wednesday, before it was finally removed around 7 p.m. The truck had to be righted with a crane, and the difficulty as well as the strong wind that blew all day delayed the move. Both southbound lanes were briefly closed for the removal.
Puff was driving the 2007 International truck owned by Gerhardt Trucking of Nova Scotia, taking the lobsters to wholesalers in Brooklyn, N.Y., and Rhode Island.
The lobsters, in 300 crates that weighed about 100 pounds each, survived the wreck and were being taken out of state following inspection by a state agriculture official, Chretien said.
Banjo, a ten year old Australian Shepherd-husky mix, survived the collision and is being cared for at nearby Boulet's Truck Service in Fairfield, ME. Gerhardt sent another truck and trailer down from Nova Scotia to bring the lobsters to their destination in New York. Investigators and the insurance company have said that the truck would most likely be written off as a total loss.