A pair of accidents on U.S. Route 1 in Bridgewater sent several people to the hospital and brought traffic to a standstill during the Friday evening commute.

Maine State Police

Maine State Police say 51-year-old Daniel Thibeault of Lewiston and his family were traveling south on Route 1 in Bridgewater around 4 p.m. when his 2014 Toyota Tacoma got stuck in a snow drift at the top of Bunker Hill.  Thibeault’s truck had just been freed from the drift with assistance from a nearby resident when it was struck by a 2007 Toyota Corolla, driven by 30-year-old Brandon Greaves of Littleton.

Greaves was also traveling south and could not see Thibeault’s vehicle due to the whiteout conditions, according to a press release from State Police Sgt. Brian Harris.

One passenger from Thibeault’s vehicle and one passenger from Greaves’ vehicle were transported by ambulance to the Houlton Regional Hospital with injuries that were not considered life threatening.

A second crash occurred  in the same area of Route 1 just minutes later, according to Bridgewater Fire Department Training Officer Matthew Powers.

Bridgewater Fire personnel were originally dispatched to the accident on Bunker Hill and arrived to find another two-vehicle accident had occurred while trying to avoid the first.  Crews closed Route 1 and requested assistance from the Monticello Fire Department which sent a rescue truck including a Jaws of Life unit.

Three people involved in this crash were transported to area hospitals.

Both travel lanes were shut down for about 1 1/2 hours and the southbound lane remained closed until after 7 p.m. Friday while the accidents were investigated and the vehicles were removed from the scene.  Sgt. Harris said this caused a long backup of both south and northbound traffic.

Maine DOT plow trucks were called in to clear the drifting snow from the roadway in the area and also treat the road due to several tractor trailers that were not able to travel up the hill on the icy roads, Harris said.

Aroostook County Sheriff’s Office and Crown Ambulance also responded to the Bridgewater accidents.