MERRIMAC — State police suspect road rage is to blame for a single-car rollover crash on Interstate 495 north yesterday that sent the driver and passenger to Boston hospitals by helicopter.
The crash happened about 4:16 p.m. north of exit 52 in Merrimac and backed up traffic for hours as police blocked off the northbound side of 495 for two Boston MedFlight helicopters to land.
State police said the driver, a 30-year-old male, operating a 1996 Honda Civic, and lone passenger, a 29-year-old female, suffered serious injuries and were taken to trauma centers in Boston. Both victims are from Methuen. Their names were not being released by police last night.
The woman was in critical condition at Mass General Hospital last night, while the man was in stable condition at Brigham and Women's Hospital at press time, state police said.
Police said last night that it appears the accident was a road-rage incident involving a gray Porsche 911 operated by a white male with white hair. No other details on the caar or driver were available, state police said.
Amesbury fire Chief Jonathan Brickett said the woman, was ejected from the vehicle. According to police reports at the scene, she suffered massive head injuries and was lapsing in and out of consciousness. The passenger was trapped inside and firefighters used vehicular extraction tools to remove the injured man.
The car was on its roof and had significant damage, the chief said.
State police from the Newbury barracks responded to the accident.
Amesbury paramedics and Merrimac firefighters tended to the victims and prepared them for their transport to Boston.
Police closed the highway for about 50 minutes, from about 4:50 to 5:40 p.m., to allow the helicopters to land, backing up traffic on the northbound side and causing residual traffic on Route 110 and nearby roads.
Brickett said an ambulance from CarePlus out of New Hampshire was in the area at the time of the crash and cared for the victims until additional help arrived.
Troopers from the Massachusetts State Police Crime Scene Services Section and the Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Section also responded to the scene and are investigating the crash. No charges have been filed at this time.