Driver narrowly avoids head-on collision with vehicle going wrong way on I-95 in Hampden


HAMPDEN, Maine — A 21-year-old driver was shaken up but unhurt Friday after she crashed into a barrier on an Interstate 95 overpass in order to avoid a collision with a vehicle that was traveling the wrong way on the interstate.

Maine State Police Trooper Forrest Simpson said at the scene that an Exeter woman, believed to be 78 years old, got turned around when she left the Hampden rest area on I-95 and headed north in the southbound lane.

Scanner traffic around 11:45 a.m. reported that the woman’s silver sedan was heading into oncoming traffic.

The driver of the sedan made it about half a mile before she reached a railroad overpass next to Pine Tree Landfill, where her car met a Chevy TrailBlazer driven by the 21-year-old from Skowhegan.

The SUV driver saw the other car coming at her and swerved to avoid a head-on collision, according to Simpson. The TrailBlazer struck the guardrail on the right-hand side of the overpass before crossing both lanes of traffic and striking the concrete barrier on the left side of the overpass.

Neither driver was injured in the near miss, Simpson said, but the SUV’s front-end was badly damaged and its airbags deployed. Both drivers were shaken up. The trooper did not immediately identify either driver.

“If you’ve never met someone going the wrong way on the interstate, it’ll rattle you,” Simpson said.

The 21-year-old driver waited in the passenger seat of a police cruiser for family members to travel from Skowhegan to pick her up, Simpson said. Medical personnel checked her out at the scene.

Simpson commended the woman for swerving into the guardrail in order to avoid a serious head-on crash.

“Cars can be fixed, people can’t always be,” he said.

The driver of the sedan stopped at the scene of the crash and was picked up by family members, who drove her and her car home, according to Simpson.

“She was a little confused,” Simpson said.

No charges will be filed against the sedan’s driver, according to Simpson.