FALMOUTH — The Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office will investigate a July 4 crash that totaled a Falmouth Police Department sport utility vehicle.
“Any crash involving a police cruiser, we conduct an internal investigation and ask an outside agency to come and investigate the accident,” Lt. John Kilbride said. “It’s important to the public to know what happened. It’s their property. Was it the officer’s fault? Vehicle failure? Was it fatigue? Just a basic mistake? Were there other factors contributing to this that we need to address as a police department?”
Officer Dennis Ryder was responding to a prowler call at the Falmouth Country Club just before 11:30 p.m. on the Fourth of July when he lost control of the Ford Explorer and crashed into a telephone poll at the intersection of Winn and Woodville roads, Kilbride said.
The vehicle toppled into a gully and landed upside down. Ryder was uninjured and crawled out of the vehicle on his own.
The 3-year-old, $27,000 SUV, one of three owned by the department, was a total loss. Kilbride estimated that 90 percent of the police equipment inside, worth about $25,000, was salvageable.
The prowler call was determined to be unfounded, Kilbride said.
Ryder served in the Westbrook Police Department for more than 20 years before starting with the Falmouth Police Department about three years ago, Kilbride said.
“Denis Ryder is a phenomenal officer,” Kilbride said. “He does a great job, and we’re very fortunate that he’s OK and no innocents got hit. Our officers do over 200,000 miles patrolling the streets of Falmouth every year. We respond to 23,000 calls and stop 5,000 vehicles. It is a dangerous gig.”
Kilbride said the external investigation is standard procedure.