HOULTON — Whiteout conditions caused by blowing snow were blamed for two accidents Wednesday morning that sent five people to area hospitals.
At 8:30 a.m. in Bridgewater, a four-vehicle accident sent one man to the hospital with broken bones.
Louis Stamant, 53, of Caribou and his wife, Phyllis, were traveling south on Route 1 on a section known as Bunker Hill when they became disoriented in a whiteout and pulled over to the side of the road, according to Maine State Police Trooper Robert Flynn.
A second car, operated by John Sirois, 74, of Van Buren, came upon the Stamant vehicle and stopped next to it, still in the travel lane.
At that point, a pickup truck operated by Ralph Babieri, 55, of Presque Isle struck the Sirois vehicle in the rear. Babieri told police he did not see the stopped cars because of the blowing snow.
Subsequently, Stamant got out of his car to warn approaching cars about the accident. He was struck by a pickup truck with a plow operated by Robert Lalone, 44, of Bridgewater.
Stamant suffered broken bones and other injuries, Flynn said. He was taken by Crown Ambulance to The Aroostook Medical Center in Presque Isle and later transferred to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor. He was listed in stable condition, the trooper said.
Sirois’ 1997 Buick sustained about $3,000 damage, Flynn said. Babieri’s 1989 Dodge pickup truck had $2,500 in damage.
In Presque Isle, one man was seriously hurt and three others suffered minor injuries when two cars collided head-on on McBurnie Road.
Maine State Police Trooper Mark Sperry said Neal Grass, 36, and his wife, Sharon, 33, were traveling south after 11 a.m. when their 1992 GMC pickup truck collided head-on with a northbound 1996 GMC pickup occupied by Tim Grenier, 30, and Peter Grenier, 33, both of Caribou.
The Grasses were taken to Cary Medical Center in Caribou. A spokeswoman there said the couple was treated for unspecified injuries and released by late afternoon.
The Greniers were taken to TAMC in Presque Isle. A spokesman there said Tim Grenier was treated for unspecified injuries and released.
Peter Grenier was in serious condition and was transferred to EMMC in Bangor, he said.
All four people were wearing seat belts, a factor which Sperry said was “definitely a lifesaver in this accident.” Both trucks were demolished, Sperry said.
State police at Troop F in Houlton also reported numerous other, less serious accidents throughout the day because of icy road conditions and blowing snow.