Three people died at the scene and one more person died at a local hospital following a two-vehicle head-on collision on Route 4 in Berwick early Saturday afternoon.
The Berwick Police Department posted on its Facebook page that the crash happened at 1:30 p.m. about a mile from the Links at Outlook golf course in this small York County town near the New Hampshire border.
Four other people were injured and taken to the hospital. Their condition was not known.
No names had been released by late afternoon and no one at the Berwick Police Department was available to answer questions.
Justin Baggs, a South Berwick firefighter who responded to the accident, posted on Facebook that it was “definitely one of the most horrible accidents I’ve been to in a while. Hug your loved ones a little tighter, little longer.”
Route 4 was expected to remain closed for several hours Saturday while the accident is reconstructed and investigated. The Maine Warden Service was assisting local police. Traffic was being diverted to Agamenticus Road and Knights Pond Road.
That stretch of road, like many rural two-lane roads throughout Maine, is susceptible to serious accidents. In 2013, a local special education teacher was killed in the same area when an SUV driven by a 17-year-old boy crossed the centerline and struck her car. Amy Harris died instantly, police said. Her two children, then 7 and 4, were injured but survived.
Maine State Police spokesman Stephen McCausland said Saturday he didn’t know the last time this many people had died in one accident in Maine but that it had been awhile.
On Mother’s Day in 2004, three adult women and four children were killed in a crash on Interstate 95 in Carmel, about 10 miles south of Bangor. The SUV they were traveling in lost control and crashed into a cluster of trees in the median. An investigation found that the vehicle was traveling 103 mph.
Maine’s deadliest motor vehicle accident occurred in 2002, when a van carrying 15 immigrant workers on a logging road near the Allagash Wildnerness Waterway in Aroostook County plunged off a bridge. All but one died.