TOPSHAM, Maine — Maine State Police believe a seizure triggered a crash Saturday along Interstate 295 that left a 26-year-old man pinned in a car stuck on its side between two trees.

The crash, reported by another motorist at 11:50 a.m., occurred on I-295 northbound near mile marker 33, according to Maine State Trooper James Leonard.

The sole occupant of the vehicle, Richard Sandberg, 26, a student at Maine Maritime Academy in Castine, apparently suffered a seizure. His four-door Hyundai sedan veered off the road, careened down an embankment and flipped on its side, becoming wedged between two trees at least 200 feet from the roadway. There was no indication that Sandberg hit the brakes during the incident, Leonard said.

The vehicle went up an incline and hit an outcropping of trees in such a way that the car tipped up onto its side with the passenger side door in the air, and came to a stop wedged between two trees, Leonard said.

A Topsham police officer arrived first on scene. The Topsham Fire Department arrived within minutes and Topsham EMS assisted as well.

Rescue workers cut the roof off the car to extricate Sandberg, who was taken by ambulance to Maine Medical Center in Portland. A LifeFlight helicopter was initially called as a precaution, but the chopper was busy at that time, so rescue workers canceled the call.

Leonard said late Saturday afternoon that Sandberg was in critical care and was still being assessed, but it appeared he suffered no serious injuries.
Sandberg was unconscious at the scene but it was unclear if it was a cause of or result of the crash. He was reported in satisfactory condition Monday morning by a hospital representative.

Traffic on I-295 northbound was reduced to one lane as a result of the crash. Leonard said the incident did not fit the criteria for a crash reconstruction.

Sandberg’s driver’s license was suspended in Maine for failure to pay a fine, so police issued him a summons for operating after suspension.

Trooper Chris Rogers assisted Leonard at the scene. Leonard said a passer-by who is a nurse, and her boyfriend who is in the military, stopped to administer aid and help as best they could until the fire department arrived.

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