Accidental Death at Remote Campsite in Aroostook County
State Police say a 74-year-old man was killed in an accident Tuesday at a remote campsite in the northern Maine woods, about 2 hours west of Ashland.
At around 5:20 p.m. Tuesday, the Houlton Regional Communications Center received a report that a man had been found dead near his pickup truck in the unorganized territory of T12 R15.
Initial reports indicated that the death may have involved a fire since the man’s truck was also reported to have burned. The State Fire Marshall’s Office was called and the Maine Warden Service responded as well due to the remote location.
Once wardens arrived on scene, it became evident that the death was not caused by the fire. At this point, Corporal Chuck Michaud of the Maine State Police took the lead in the investigation. His investigation revealed that 74-year-old Bruce Morang of East Winthrop, Maine was killed when his pickup truck had rolled backwards and crushed him.
Morang and his wife, 66-year-old Martha Morrill, had just arrived at their camp and were in the process of unpacking their gear. Mr. Morang was getting out of his truck when it rolled backwards, knocking him to the ground and dragging him for a short distance, Michaud said. The vehicle then rolled over Morang and came to rest near the camp after hitting a fire pit.
It appeared the pickup may have caught fire after a cigarette that Mr. Morang had been smoking ignited the inside of the vehicle, where several oxygen tanks that he used to help him breath were stored, Michaud said. The truck was completely destroyed by the fire.
Morang was transported to a funeral home in Ashland where he would eventually be transferred to the custody of the Medical Examiner’s Office to determine an exact cause of death.
Cpl. Michaud was assisted at the scene by Warden Sgt. Durwood Humphrey, Warden Dave Milligan, and Warden Preston Pomerleau.