BRENTWOOD – A section of Route 125 in Brentwood was closed this morning after an accident involving a pickup truck and a tractor-trailer truck left one driver seriously injured.
The nearly head-on crash happened just before 7:30 a.m. and closed a stretch of Route 125 between North and Middle roads for three hours, snarling the morning commute.
State Police said a preliminary investigation showed that a 2000 Ford Ranger pickup truck driven by Michael Starkey, 50, of Rochester, was traveling south on Route 125 and crossed into the northbound travel lane.
The truck, which had “CertaPro Painters” lettering on the side, collided with a 1986 Freightliner tractor-trailer unit operated by William Valpone, 45, of Newbury, Mass. The unit was carrying a forklift on a flatbed trailer.
State Police said Starkey suffered serious injuries and was flown by medical helicopter to Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
Valpone received minor injuries and was treated at the scene.
Starkey was airlifted from a landing zone at the nearby Brentwood Recreation Center.
The accident happened in the area of Brentwood Power Equipment Center at 244 Route 125. Owner David Flagg said he was working inside his shop and heard the crash over the sound of two radios running on his computer.
Flagg, who also lives next to his business, said his wife, a registered nurse, rushed over to see if she could help the injured pickup truck driver while he approached the tractor-trailer truck driver. Flagg said the tractor-trailer’s driver’s side fuel tank was damaged and leaking fuel.
Flagg said the driver of the tractor trailer driver told him that he saw the pickup truck crossing the center line and coming toward him and that he tried to move out of his way.
“The truck was getting closer and closer and closer. He said, ‘I was already in the dirt and I had no place else to go.’ He was buried in the dirt. His wheels were down in the dirt,” Flagg said.
State Police were assisted at the scene by members of the Brentwood police and fire departments, Epping police and fire, Fremont police, Kingston police, the Rockingham County Sheriff’s Department, and the State Police Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Unit.
The accident remains under investigation by Trooper Michael Shupe of State Police-Troop A. Anyone with information on the accident is asked to contact Shupe at 223-8490.