State Police say 15 people were injured Thursday morning when two vans collided on Route 1 in Bridgewater, during high winds and whiteout conditions.

The collision ocurred about 7:30 am on Bunker Hill, shutting down both lanes of traffic for nearly three hours. The road was re-opened around 10:45 a.m.

The vans were owned by the Aroostook County Sheriff’s Office and the Full Gospel Assembly of Mars Hill.

The injured were taken to Northern Light AR Gould Hospital in Presque Isle and Houlton Regional. Police said some individuals had serious, but non-life threatening injuries - including broken bones, lacerations, bumps, bruises and complaints of pain. Some people were extricated from the vans by fire department personnel.

The sheriff’s transport van was driven by a 29-year-old Oakland man, said police. It had nine inmates headed to court in either Presque Isle or Caribou.

The church van was driven by a 41-year-old woman from Mars Hill. There were seven passengers including adults, minors & teenagers, according to officials. Both vans were demolished. Names of the drivers were not available.

Six ambulances were called to the scene to transport the injured. Officials said one of the ambulances sideswiped a car and ended up off the road when it was unable to stop because of the icy conditions near the accident site. The ambulance was from Houlton, and did not have any patients on it at the time. An EMT on that ambulance had minor injuries.

Assisting agencies were the Aroostook County Sheriff’s Office, U.S. Border Patrol, Bridgewater Fire, Littleton Fire, Houlton Ambulance, Crown Ambulance, Presque Isle Ambulance, Monticello Fire, Maine DOT.

About a dozen other crashes took place Thursday in Aroostook County, all attributed to weather conditions. Accidents were reported in Westfield, Caswell, Easton, Monticello and Nashville Plantation. There were some injuries from those crashes, but none life threatening.

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