A Maine man has died in a chain-reaction car crash involving a moose.
According to CBS affiliate WABI, an unidentified individual driving a vehicle on Route 15 in Greenville, Maine hit a moose, which generated a crash that wrecked two other cars and took the life of the man in the second car. The event occurred around 6:15 p.m. local time on Monday evening.
Joel Wortman, who was driving the second car, reportedly hit the animal after the first car did, which caused him to strike a third vehicle head-on. The moose ended up on top of the second vehicle, driven by Wortman, 52.
Despite efforts made by emergency responders, Wortman died at the scene while the two individuals in the third car were taken to the hospital. WABI reports that they had minor injuries.
In 2019, Autoblog.com cited Maine traffic statistics that said moose and automobile collisions were down nearly 50 percent from the 1998 peak of 1,200 per year, but still happening at a rate of about 500 per year. Within the past decade, there have been about 7,000 moose-related car accidents, with 26 resulting in a fatality.
The Journal of the American College of Surgeons studied the fatality rate of car/animal crashes and concluded that moose/car collisions are 13 times more likely to result in death than deer/car collisions.
Moose heavily populate the northeastern U.S. state, which is known for its natural areas.
According to VisitMaine.com, moose can be seen throughout the New England area state, but are most popular in areas such as The Maine Highlands and Aroostook County. Greenville, where the car accident occurred, is situated within The Main Highlands.
VisitMaine.com adds that moose — Maine's state animal — are easy to spot during the fall season, as it is the time when they breed.
The website says that the season before winter is also when the bull moose's antlers become fully formed. "They will shed their antlers in November or December and new, larger antlers will begin to grow in the spring," VisitMaine.com says.
And while moose tend to typically be pretty tame and mild animals, VisitMaine.com says that tourists and residents of the state should express caution when they see the animal in the wild.
"They have been known to charge people when they feel threatened," the website states.
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