State Police say a Brewer man died early this morning when his van struck a moose on Interstate 95 in Howland. It is the state’s first fatal moose-vehicle collision this year. According to Maine Department of Public Safety Spokesperson Steve McCausland, troopers said Sidney Oakes, 60, died at the scene of the accident. McCausland said the crash took place around 1 a.m. at mile marker 222 in the southbound lane.   Oakes was driving a Dodge Grand Caravan and was alone, McCausland said.

State Police said drivers need to exercise caution when driving at night because moose, despite their size, are virtually invisible because of their dark coloring and because of their height, drivers can’t see the animal’s eyes reflecting light.

McCausland said moose will suddenly dart into the road during the summer months to escape insects and are especially active at night.  Maine records over 500 moose-vehicle crashes annually, many resulting in serious injury. There were no fatal moose collisions in 2013 and in 2011, but two people died in separate moose crashes in 2012, and there were three fatal moose collisions in 2010.