Alcohol Possibly a Factor
ATHENS – It was another ho-hum Sunday afternoon for local emergency responders, as they found themselves answering the usual calls for fender-benders, domestic disputes, and one of your ordinary, run-of-the-mill snowmobile-racing sewage truck through ice fishing village during target practice and bowling instruction accidents.
“Ski and snowmobile injuries and fatalities are all too common in a typical Maine winter,” said Steve McCausland, spokesman for the Maine State Police. “Unfortunately, this is just another example of people not taking the proper precautions for their chosen recreational activity.”
Athens volunteer firefighters were first on the scene at Great Moose Lake, after getting a call about a diesel fuel explosion at 3:35 p.m. When they arrived, they found Eric McIntyre, 20, of Hartland, unconscious and sprawled on the ice, with third-degree burns over 95% of his body, and virtually every bone in legs and torso ground into a fine powder.
“Apparently, the victim and some friends decided to race a sewage truck and a snowmobile across the lake,” explained Athens Fire Chief Dave Stimson. “They wound up driving through a collection of ice fishing shacks, where one guy was demonstrating his bowling technique to his nephew while his buddy was shooting at the ball for target practice. I guess the fish weren’t biting too good.
“Anyways,” Stimson continued, “the truck or the snowmobile or the gunshot, possibly all three, spooked some of the goats they had hanging around, so the goats start stampeding, and they get in the way of the snowmobile, which veers in front of the sewage truck, which had been lagging behind, obviously, ’cause it’s a sewage truck. I mean, of course a snowmobile is gonna beat a sewage truck, especially if it’s full. I don’t know what the hell they were thinking.”
Stimson went on to explain how an errant bullet ricocheted off the bowling ball and struck the fuel tank of the sewage truck at the exact moment that McIntyre, who was driving the snowmobile, was being crushed under one of the front tires.
The driver of the truck, whose identity was not released by the Somerset County Sheriff’s Department, was unharmed, as he leaped from the moving vehicle like a movie stuntman right before the fiery explosion that engulfed McIntyre and several of the goats.
Moments after the accident, Stimson said, the man with the bowling ball, later identified as Justin Bartokomous, 21, of Plymouth, recognized McIntyre as the man who had made sexual advances toward his sister the week before. Roberts allegedly threw his bowling ball at McIntyre in anger, crushing the latter’s pelvic bone.
Investigators say they are not willing to rule out the possibility that one or more of the participants in this incident may have been under the influence of alcohol.
Stimson said he is getting tired of responding to these kinds of calls.
“If these kids keep messing around like this, eventually someone’s gonna get seriously hurt,” he said.