When following the GPS goes wrong in Portland

Apr. 30—There was some freaky, unsafe driving in Portland early Saturday, police said.

One driver crashed in the police station garage before charged with operating under the influence. Another motorist drove onto train tracks.

Luckily, no one was hurt, Portland Police Lt. Robert Doherty said.

Shortly after midnight Saturday, a blue Toyota Highlander drove into the Portland Police Department’s garage, then drove across the pedestrian plaza and down the stairs.

The vehicle didn’t get far down the stairs.

“There were police officers in our garage who saw the car pass through,” surprising the officers. “They went over to investigate. Our first concern is for people in the car, the safety of the folks,” Doherty said, adding the driver could have been having a medical event.

In this case, alcohol was involved, police said.

The driver, a 26-year-old female, told police she was following her GPS instructions when she drove into the garage. However responding officers felt that it was her excessive blood alcohol level that contributed to her miscalculation. The woman received a summons for operating under the influence.

The crash caused property damage including to stair railings. The vehicle was removed by a tow truck.

Then, just before 3 a.m., police got a call that a vehicle was stuck on a train track, tracks used by Amtrak Downeaster and the Boston and Maine railroad, a potential serious situation.

Police notified train operators that a vehicle was on a track. The car was stuck off Congress Street near Northern Light Mercy hospital, Doherty said.

“A driver got lost somewhere and wound up on the tracks and didn’t realize he was on the tracks,” Doherty said. The driver, a 25-year-old man from out of state, continued for several hundred yards. When he tried to correct the situation, his sedan got high centered on the tracks.

The vehicle had to be towed and caused damage to the vehicle’s undercarriage.

Alcohol was not involved with the driver’s miscalculation and no charges were filed, police said.

The railroad crossing on Congress Street was clearly marked, Doherty said. “Most folks wouldn’t make that mistake.”

The strange driving early Saturday followed another bizarre event on April 15 when a tractor-trailer truck turned into a small parking lot on 39 Forest Ave.

The maneuver was too tight for the truck and collided again, and again, with obstacles in its path. It flattened a parking meter and crashed into several vehicles, including an unmarked state police vehicle. The truck driver abandoned his rig and fled. As of April 20, police were looking for the truck driver.

“It has been such a busy time” for police, Doherty said. Heading into the summer it seems it will be an active time. “Our city has a great deal going on,” he said.

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