A Wiscasset man drove a box truck into a tree in a home’s front yard on Wednesday, July 19, and likely died on impact before the vehicle caught fire.
Matthew Smith, 36, was reported to be suicidal by his friends that morning, Wiscasset Police Department Chief Larry Hesseltine said on scene at Birch Point Road.
A press release from the department said the Lincoln County Communications Center received calls beginning at 9 a.m. from Smith’s friends, who were concerned he would harm himself. Law enforcement from Lincoln and Sagadahoc counties were trying to locate him when the crash was reported by a 911 call at 9:50 a.m., according to the press release.
“He drove himself into a tree,” Hesseltine said on scene.
An eyewitness driving behind Smith saw the truck accelerate to over 55 miles per hour and drive “straight into the tree,” according to the press release.
A fire then started under the truck and was extinguished by the Wiscasset Fire Department after unsuccessful attempts by Hesseltine and passers-by, according to the press release. The nearby home was evacuated.
Smith seems to have died on impact with the tree, Hesseltine said, and was “pinned under the wreckage.” It took responders several hours to remove his body and clean the scene.
Birch Point Road was shut down from its intersection with Route 144 for about three hours.
Hall’s Funeral Home was called to remove the body, which was transported to the Maine Medical Examiner’s Office for identification and an autopsy, according to the press release.
The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, the Wiscasset fire and emergency medical services departments, and Wiscasset Public Works responded to the scene. Blagden’s Wrecker Service removed Smith’s truck.
Hesseltine said on scene that Smith is believed to have been a plumber and the vehicle was likely his work truck.