Two people were killed in separate car crashes on Maine highways Wednesday morning.

One person died and a second was rushed to a New Hampshire hospital following a single-car crash on Route 9 in Berwick.

The crash was reported a few minutes after 8 a.m. near 198 School St., said Berwick Fire Chief Dennis Plante.

When firefighters and emergency medical personnel arrived, they found a single vehicle had left the road, gone down a ditch and struck a large tree.

The vehicle had two people in it. One had already crawled out of the car and collapsed after the crash, while the second person was trapped inside, Plante said.

The person found outside the vehicle was taken to Wentworth-Douglass Hospital, Plante said.

Crews worked to extract the injured person in the vehicle but the person was pronounced dead at the scene, Plante said. The Berwick Police Department is investigating the cause of the crash, and planned to release more information Thursday, according to police.

The Berwick crash was the second fatality on Maine roads on Wednesday.

At around 5:30 a.m., 57-year-old Stanley Swallow of Newburgh died when he lost control of his pickup truck on a patch of black ice along I-95 in Hampden, struck the guardrails and rolled over several times. Swallow was not wearing a seatbelt, Maine State Police said.

It was unclear whether slick conditions contributed to the crash in Berwick, but the National Weather Service said conditions could have been slippery in the Berwick region.

Swallow was the 31st person to die on Maine roads this year, and the person who died in Berwick was the 32nd, one more death than at this time in 2019.

The crashes occurred at a time when few people are traveling on state roads amid the quarantine and stay-at-home orders enforced to combat the spread of coronavirus infections.

Preliminary data from the state Department of Transportation show that compared to last year, crashes reported in March appear to be down about 33 percent, from 2,777 in March 2019 to 1,867 last month.

Early figures for April show a potentially steeper decline, but the crash counts are not yet complete because it takes several weeks for local police departments to report all crashes to the state’s database.


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