Oct 12, 2014 4:26 AM

23 people injured when Maine hayride flips

The Associated Press

MECHANIC FALLS, Maine (AP) A trailer carrying people on a Halloween-themed hayride overturned on a steep dirt road in the Maine woods, injuring 23 people, several of them seriously, authorities said.

The accident occurred Saturday night at Harvest Hill Farms when the driver of a small jeep pulling the flatbed trailer near a haunted house missed a turn at the top of a hill, Androscoggin County Sheriff Guy Desjardins said.

"The trailer jackknifed and the jeep went off the road," Desjardins told the Portland Press Herald. "We're talking about a very narrow dirt road, but extremely steep."

He said the trailer struck a tree, throwing its passengers to the ground.

Authorities said 22 people ages 15 and older were on the trailer at the time of the accident. Sgt. Joel Davis of the state fire marshal's office said every passenger on the hayride was injured in some way.

"I've never witnessed a single incident that resulted in so many injuries," said Desjardins, who told the newspaper he has been with the sheriff's department for 19 years.

He said some of the victims had minor injuries but others' were more serious, including injuries to their backs, necks and limbs. The two most seriously injured were flown to the hospital by helicopter, while ambulances transported the rest to several area hospitals. The driver of the jeep also was injured, Desjardin said.

Seventeen people were brought to Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston, including one in critical condition, Chuck Gill, vice president for public affairs, told The Sun Journal. He said some needed surgery.

Davis said investigators would return to the scene in the daylight on Sunday to reconstruct the accident and check if the hayride was mechanically sound.

Harvest Hills Farm said on its Facebook page that the site would be closed Sunday while authorities investigate. In addition to the Gauntlet Haunted Night Ride, the farm also is home to Pumpkin Land, a daytime attraction.


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