Dump truck crashes into pond, driver hurt

By Andrea Ray | Jun 22, 2017
Photo by: Andrea Ray A dump truck submerged in water on Mary's Pond Road Thursday morning.

Rochester — A good samaritan and a Rochester police officer helped save the life of a 73-year-old Dartmouth man on Thursday, June 22, when the dump truck the man was driving crashed into Leonard's Pond off of Mary's Pond Road.

The accident occurred shortly after 6:30 a.m. The driver, identified as Francis Cabral, was traveling in the direction of Rochester center when the truck collided with the railing of the bridge and entered the pond.

"Preliminary reports indicate that for an unknown reason, the driver swerved into the guardrail, where one tire blew," said Rochester Police Chief Paul Magee.

Police said a passing motorist saw the crash and jumped into the water to help Cabral. The driver was able to keep the victim's head above water, but Cabral was tangled in debris and could not immediately be freed.

Rochester Police Officer Nathan Valente arrived shortly after. He, too, jumped into the water, and he and the passing motorist were able to keep Cabral's head above water until he could be extricated from the dump truck by Rochester Fire Department and Rochester EMS first-responders.

Officials said the extrication process took approximately 40 minutes.

Cabral was flown via medical helicopter to Rhode Island Hospital with severe injuries. He was initially in the intensive care unit in "critical" condition. As of Monday, June 26, Cabral had been moved from the ICU and was listed in "good" condition, according to Christina O'Reilly, Senior Media Relations Officer at Rhode Island Hospital.

It took crews nearly 10 hours to remove the truck and debris from the water, according to Rochester Police. Utilities in the area were shut off so that workers could safely remove the wreck. Power and cable were restored to neighboring homes around 9 p.m.

Diesel was spilled into the water following the crash, initially concerning environmental officials, as the waterway is a main source of water for cranberry bogs and residential wells.

Rochester Conservation Agent Rochester Conservation Agent Laurell Farinon and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection were on scene to investigate any issues. Additionally, Marion Harbormaster Isaac Perry and his department sent a boat from the scene of the accident down Sippican River, to where the Sippican River meets the Weweantic River and through to Marion Harbor.

Perry reported that no contamination from the crash was found in the water.

It wasn't immediately clear who would pay for repairs to the bridge.

"We aren't sure yet," said Rochester Selectman Naida Parker, "but I would imagine the town will try to place a claim against the driver's insurance."

The crash remains under investigation.

(Courtesy of: Rochester Fire Department)
(Courtesy of: Rochester Fire Department)
(Courtesy of: Rochester Fire Department)
(Courtesy of: Rochester Police Department)
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