Maine interstate, I-95, was closed on the northbound side from Newport to Bangor Wednesday. Within the 30 miles, heavy snow caused a 40 vehicle car accident. There were 14 people injured, two were in serious condition, but there were no fatalities. Everyone has been removed from their vehicles. State troopers said the scene looked like a “giant pile of metal.” Included in the wreckage was a tractor trailer truck and a school bus. It has not been stated if the Maine Interstate speed limit was lowered to 45 mph.
Northbound drivers are being detoured to the Newport or Etna exits. Maine Interstate I-95 was closed all morning. The crash happened around 7:30 am Wednesday morning. Heavy snow was still falling, as five to nine inches were expected. When emergency staff arrived on the scene on the Maine Interstate, they had to climb on top of the vehicle pileup to get to the drivers in the middle of the mass of metal. Eastern Maine Medical Center said it had 11 patients in the emergency room by 10 am. All were in fair to serious condition.
The crash was actually three different accidents in a half mile span. The primary crash involved 25 vehicles and then a series of other wrecks followed. Some vehicles went off the road. The school bus came up on one of the Interstate accidents that had already happened, but was not able to stop. The bus hit a vehicle, and then the bus itself was rear ended. Over 20 vehicles surrounded the bus. This was how 30 miles of the Maine Interstate was shut down.
The school bus was carrying two students from the Maine school district, RSU, and an aid to Stillwater Academy in Old Town. One of the students scraped his chin, and the other might have a sprained thumb. The driver and the aid, however, were unharmed. RSU 19 sent out another bus so people stuck in the snow at the crash site could get warm. A van was also sent out to pick up the riders of the bus and take them home. The van had not yet arrived at 10:15 am.
Peggy Leonard’s vehicle was wedged between two tractor trailer trucks. She says she is happy to be alive. She said she did not realize how bad her situation was until after one of the tractor trailer drivers helped her out of her car and told her she was “lucky to be alive.” Leonard said that her car did a 180 and was facing one of the tractor trailer trucks coming toward her. She put her car into reverse quickly, moved sideways, and that is most likely what saved her life.
Maine Interstate I-95 northbound from Newport to Bangor closed Wednesday morning. State police plan to open one of the northbound lanes around 12:30 – 1:00 pm. It has been reported that Kyle Dube’s attorneys are blocked behind the accident and are speaking with the judge via speakerphone. Also another attorney for the state, a witness and a juror are stuck behind the accident as well. It was not reported if they were from the Dube case as well.
Eastern Maine Medical Center has asked that anyone concerned if a family member or friend was involved in the accident on Maine Interstate 95 between Newport and Bangor to please contact the American Red Cross at (207) 561-6197. If a patient is confirmed to be at Eastern Maine Medical Center then families can call (207) 973-8101.
By Jeanette Smith
Photo Courtesy of Steve Dinn – Flickr License