A moose in Maine triggered a car crash that killed a man on Monday evening.
The accident happened in Greenville, Maine at around 6:15 p.m., WABI-TV reported.
Greenville is next to Moosehead Lake, Maine’s largest lake, so-called not for the local moose population but because it’s shaped like a moose’s head. The small town is about 70 miles northwest of Bangor.
The chain-reaction crash involved three vehicles. The first car hit the moose. The car behind it also hit the moose, propelling the moose on top of the car. The second car then hit a third car head-on.
Joel Wortman, 52, was driving the second car. He died at the scene, though first responders tried to save his life.
Two people in the third car went to the hospital with minor injuries, according to WABI.
Traffic accidents involving moose are 13 times more likely to end in death than deer-related accidents, People magazine reported. A 2019 study by the American College of Surgeons found that New England sees more than 500 accidents each year involving moose. And due to the heft of the moose, those accidents kill people more frequently than do accidents involving deer.
The researchers further discovered that car accidents with moose happen mostly after sunset and sometimes near sunrise. Collisions with moose occur most often in the late spring and summer.
People driving through areas where moose congregate “should drive with extra caution and lower speed, especially in the evening hours,” lead author David E. Clark, MD, of Maine Medical Center in Portland, said. “Medical professionals in these geographic regions [the northern U.S.] should be aware of the typical injury pattern and should support preventive efforts.”
Maine’s moose population has actually been declining in recent years, WCSH-TV reported. Scientists attribute the decline to winter ticks, other parasites and bacterial infections that drain the moose of life throughout the winter.