I-95 Pile-up Report Released By Police
It was possibly the worst interstate crash in Maine history. And it left all of us wondering exactly how it started and how close were the police when they estimated around 75 cars. The answers were released today in a detailed report from the State Police.
The first confirmed event happened when the driver of an SUV that was traveling north lost control on the slippery road just before 7:30 on the morning of February 25th. The vehicle spun 360 degrees and struck the right-hand guardrail which caused minor, non-reportable damage to the driver's side rear of the SUV. It came to rest in the travel lane.
As the SUV was spinning, a line of three vehicle approached,with the first able to avoid the SUV in the passing lane. The second vehicle also moved into the passing lane but clipped the front of the third vehicle that was already in that lane. The drivers of the second and third vehicle were able to safely pull over and that was the first call to 9-1-1.
The driver of a small sedan came upon the now-stopped SUV in the travel lane, and tried to go around it in the passing lane, but lost control and went partially off the road in the median. Next was an empty log truck that began to jackknife as the driver tried to get around the SUV. The driver purposefully drove off the roadway and came to rest in the ditch.
A pickup truck driver came along and tried to miss the SUV but became involved in a three-vehicle crash. He reported hearing additional crashes behind him as he got out of his vehicle to assess damage and confer with the other drivers. The rest of the accidents went from there, primarily caused by road conditions and people trying to avoid the accident. Police say many of the people involved in these crashes were able to stop their vehicles successfully, only to be hit from behind.
State Police say there were 31 total reportable crashes involving a total of 102 vehicles. 149 people were involved in the accidents with 32 total reports of injuries. Out of those 149 people, only one person (other than those exempt because they were in a school bus) was not wearing a seatbelt. Approximately 40 vehicles were involved in non-reportable incidents. (like sliding off the road with minimal or no damage)
91 rescue workers responded to the scene. 29 were members of law enforcement, an estimated 28 were fire department personnel, and 34 were EMS/Ambulance personnel.
Investigators have concluded that the entire multi-vehicle crash was caused by a combination of factors and simultaneous events, including operators driving too fast for the conditions, drivers following too closely to the car in front of them, limited visibility, and snowfall. In addition, the downgrade of the roadway, long-sweeping right hand curve, and the channeling effect of the guardrails present on both sides of the road contributed to the crashes. No criminal charges are anticipated in regards to these accidents.