Massive 75-car pileup on I-95 is largest in Maine’s history

During the early morning hours of last Wednesday, Feb. 25, busy commuters on I-95 were greeted by a dangerous wintery mix which resulted in what officials believe to be the largest chain-reaction crash in Maine history. Moving at high speeds on slippery roads with little visibility, cars quickly lost traction within the crowded lanes of the morning commute, skidding into a pileup of around 75 vehicles.

Despite the wreck’s severity, there were no fatalities, although there were several injuries resulting in around 17 people having to be taken to nearby hospitals in Bangor with two in serious condition, as well as one person who experienced a heart attack after crashing. At the time, the highway’s speed limit had been set at a low 45 mph due to weather conditions, yet many in the far left lane were observed traveling at speeds of around 60 miles per hour which may have triggered the first collisions.

The first emergency calls began after 7:30 a.m. in response to the initial collision of around 25 vehicles that developed in Carmel. The blocked roadway combined with tough driving conditions in the snowy weather quickly prompted this number to grow, as dozens of drivers lost control or were unable to see brake lights because of sticky wet snow covering the backs of cars. Brief moments of skidding resulted in major wrecks, most of which involved two to three cars, while others included vehicles that became damaged by driving off the road to avoid impact. On the road, the long chain of collisions crushed the pileup of cars so tightly together that responders had to walk on top of cars in order to maneuver through the scene.

“I’m absolutely shocked we don’t have any fatalities,” Maine State Police Lt. Sean Hashey said at a Bangor press conference that afternoon. “If Hollywood wanted to create a scene, I don’t think they could have created the amount of carnage that was out there today.”

Of the 75 total vehicles involved, two were large tractor-trailers which together pinned a small car in between them, and one was a rolled over RSU 19 school bus. At the time, the school bus was carrying two students with special needs along with an adult aide to Stillwater Academy in Old Town, and collided with several vehicles before rolling over and completely crushing another car. No one needed medical attention in that particular crash.

The final massive pileup stretched for over three miles, from its starting point in Carmel and to its end point in Enta. Both northbound lanes on I-95 between Newport and Bangor were shut down after the initial 25-car wreck early in the morning, and because of the pileup’s immense growth they remained closed for over four hours.

Responders had to walk across the tops of cars in order to check on occupants in the tightly crammed wreckage.

Responders had to walk across the tops of cars in order to check on occupants in the tightly crammed wreckage.

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