BANGOR, Maine — Maine State Police are searching for a blue Jeep Liberty with front end damage involved in a noontime hit-and-run crash with a 15-passenger van on Interstate 95 near the Kenduskeag Stream, said Trooper Brian Bean.
The driver of the van, a 32-year-old Bangor man, said the Jeep hit the van from behind and then fled, the trooper said.
“The Jeep Liberty hit the van and the van spun out, hitting the barrier in the center, blocking two lanes of traffic,” Bean said. “It did not rollover as originally reported. The Jeep left the scene [heading south].”
The van driver, who was not injured, was able to move the van enough to open up one lane of traffic. His two passengers, a 44-year-old female and 42-year-old man, were both injured and taken by ambulance to area hospitals with complaints of pain in their necks and backs, the trooper said.
“It’s quite a snafu,” a dispatcher for Penobscot Regional Communications Center said of the 12:15 p.m. crash that caused a traffic jam that extended north to Broadway.
A blue Jeep Liberty, license plate number 7276TN, was reported stolen by a couple who live on Ohio Street at 12:19 p.m., said Bangor police Sgt. Cathy Rumsey.
“It might be the same one, we don’t know,” a state police dispatcher said of the Jeep involved in the crash and the one stolen from Bangor.
“That is being looked into,” Bean said. The damaged vehicle has not been found, and Bean is asking anyone who sees a damaged blue Jeep Liberty to contact local police.
The collision occurred in the southbound lane of I-95 just south of the Kenduskeag Stream overpass.
State police in the Bangor area received reports of six or seven crashes, Bean said.
“People feel confident in their driving abilities [and drive too fast for conditions],” the trooper said.
Bangor police responded to a number of accidents, including a rollover on Stillwater, near Chase Road, that didn’t involve any injuries, Rumsey said. A second noontime rollover in Dedham near Alamanda Road required assistance from Holden first responders, the Penobscot County dispatcher said.
“We dispatched fire and rescue for that,” he said.
Rumsey warned people to be careful if heading out.
“The roads are slippery,” she said.
“If you’re heading out on the road please use caution,” the sergeant posted on the department’s Facebook page at 1 p.m. “Things are getting slippery and the accidents are starting up. Practice safe winter driving and let’s all get home safely tonight.”