By Morning Sentinel Staff
A 4-mile cow manure spill through three towns kept residents plugging their noses Monday and sent motorists to area car washes.
The mystery of who spilled the manure on Route 100A from Winslow to Benton and into Clinton remained unsolved as of Monday night.
But Benton Road Commissioner Kenneth Dudley tried to figure it out. He followed the manure spill, hoping to find the source -- or the destination -- and used his plow truck to scrape it off the road even though he isn't responsible for the state-owned highway.
"The Town Office called me and said that somebody'd come in there and complained in there and he called it 'cow poop,' so I thought I'll go look -- I'm coming into town anyways," Dudley said.
"I was down to Waterville and I came through and it was quite messy in the road just about where the town line was and it disappeared on that flat. I lost it near Bellsqueeze Road. I don't really know where it went to. I didn't smell nothing at first. I had a guy with me and he said he could sure smell it."
The trail of manure in the northbound lane of Route 100A started in Winslow, just south of the Benton town line, continued past Libby's Variety store, the Town Office and Dan's Used Cars, then headed toward Clinton.
Once in Clinton it traveled another couple of miles and turned west off the paved road just before a red farmhouse.
The manure followed a snowy field up to the red horizon where the sun was setting around 4:45 p.m. Farm equipment was parked next to a big pile.
At Libby's store, owner Bob Libby was eating a sandwich for supper and hadn't counted on it being accompanied by the odor of manure.
"I just got in and I said, 'What in hell smells?'" he recalled.
His wife, Diane, came into the store after walking the dog. She said people had been talking about the manure spill all day.
"Some lady came in and she had a sizable amount on her car," she said. "She got some coins to go to the car wash."
Stopping at Libby's on her way home from work, Pamela Hall, like everyone else in town, was talking about the stench in the road. She said she drove for what seemed like miles, with the odor never letting up.
"It's like, phew," Hall said. "I began to think maybe I stepped in something. I couldn't imagine what it was because the smell went on so long."
Diane Libby preferred to look at the positive side of the situation.
"It's good country air, that's all," she said. "We're going to have some good green grass along the side of the road."