Updated 2:40 pm
Two people were taken to Martha’s Vineyard Hospital with injuries sustained in a bizarre crash at the Steamship Authority’s Vineyard Haven terminal Tuesday morning.
A Ford Super Duty pickup smashed into a Cottle’s flatbed semi in the Steamship Authority’s Vineyard Haven terminal early Tuesday morning just before 5:30, as the MV Woods Hole was loading for its first run. The impact lifted the semi trailer and sent radiator steam hissing from the crumpled hood of the Ford.
Sgt. Chris Habekost said it appears to be an accident, but remains under investigation. “While the vehicle was being moved, the driver lost control of the vehicle due to unfamiliarity with vehicle, and may have hit the accelerator instead of the brake,” he said.
Habekost would not release the name of the driver or the passenger injured in the crash.
Tisbury Fire Chief John Schilling said two people, including the driver of the pickup truck, were taken to the hospital. “Two people were standing outside the Cottle’s truck and jumped out of the way,” Schilling told The Times. Other bystanders reported hearing the “squealing of tires” before the crash. “It could have been an extremely tragic situation,” Schilling said, noting that the area of the crash is where trucks carrying hazardous materials typically stage before being loaded onto freight ferries.
“By the grace of God, any other time of day there would have been a lot more people between the trucks and the ticket office,” Schilling said.
Edmund Cottle II, general manager of Cottle’s, said neither of his employees were injured. “They had to move quickly,” he said.
The truck was brought back to the shop, and the trailer was towed away, Cottle said. “I haven’t heard about the driver [of the pickup], I hope she is well,” Cottle told The Times. “I’m glad none of my employees was hurt. Equipment can always be replaced.”
Cottle’s has two trucks that go off-Island every day, with reservations on the first boat.
Local mariner Lynne Fraker was at the foot of the ramp to the Woods Hole when the accident happened. A minute or so earlier she had crossed the terminal lot from the VTA bus stop with a handful of people. She was skeptical she or those she walked with could have dodged the truck had they walked across a few moments earlier. “Could we have gotten out of the way? I don’t think so,” she said.
Tisbury Fire, EMS, and Police swarmed the scene as the Woods Hole left the slip.
SSA spokesman Sean Driscoll issued a statement: “We’re extremely thankful to the Tisbury emergency personnel for their quick response at this morning’s incident. Our thoughts are with the two people who are injured.”
Habekost said the crash remains under investigation. At this time, no charges are pending, he said.
Updated to include information Tisbury Police. Editor George Brennan contributed to this report.