CLIFTON, Maine - A near head-on collision Friday on Route 9 sent five people to a Bangor hospital for treatment of their injuries, none of which was considered life-threatening.
The accident, which happened about 3:15 p.m. roughly a mile from the Amherst town line, closed the busy highway for about an hour, backing traffic up for several miles in either direction.
Injured in the crash were a Lubec man and a family of four visiting from North Carolina, according to Trooper Christopher Cookson of the Maine State Police.
Vernon McKimmey, 55, of Lubec, who was traveling alone in a 2005 Ford Explorer, was flown to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor in a LifeFlight helicopter. Cookson said McKimmey was expected to remain in the hospital for treatment of a serious hip injury he suffered in the crash.
Taken to EMMC in several ambulances were Andrew Leech, 41, and Jennifer Leech, 42, and their children, 13-year-old Quincy, and Connor, 14. Their hometown was unavailable Friday night.
The family was traveling in a 2007 Toyota RAV4, Cookson said.
Cookson said Andrew Leech complained of pain in his knees, back and hands, and that Jennifer Leech had ankle pain.
Both of the teenagers were shaken up by the crash and had seat belt marks but otherwise emerged unscathed.
Cookson expected that all four Leeches would be treated and released Friday.
According to Cookson, the accident appears to have been caused by an inadequate back tire on McKimmey’ s SUV.
Rain had been falling on and off through the region much of Friday and accident investigators believe McKimmey’ s truck hydroplaned, which sent it into the path of Leech’ s vehicle.
Cookson said all of the people involved in the collision were wearing seat belts. He said that both vehicles were demolished in the accident.
Clifton wasn’ t the only stretch of Route 9 that had traffic backups and delays on Friday.
Road construction connected to the construction of a new U.S. Customs House at Routes 1 and 9 in Calais, near Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge, caused traffic delays for much of Friday afternoon.