GEORGETOWN — A bus carrying the UMaine Orono women’s basketball team, coaches and staff veered from the southbound side of Interstate 95 around 8:30 Tuesday night, crossed the median and crashed into a section of woods on the northbound side of the six-lane highway near exit 54 in Georgetown, state police reported.
The driver, who may have suffered some medical episode, was trapped in the bus with serious injuries and had to be extricated by firefighters. He was flown from the scene by MedFlight to Boston Medical Center with serious injuries.
A state police official said 22 people with minor injuries were transported to various hospitals in the region including Anna Jaques Hospital in Newburyport, Beverly Hospital in Beverly and Merrimack Valley Hospital in Haverhill for treatment and observation.
Coach Richard Barron reportedly suffered minor facial lacerations. Three team members were transported to an area hospital for observation — players Ashleigh Roberts and Corinne Wellington, and Samantha Wheeler, the team’s director of basketball operations.
The UMaine athletic director said he was told by the coach that the driver had some kind of medical incident and passed out while driving. He said the coach even tried grabbing the steering wheel at one point.
The accident scene was located between Tenney and Jewett streets, north of the Route 133 exit in Georgetown.
The bus crossed from the southbound side of Interstate 95, across the median and then over three lanes of northbound traffic before ending up in the woods. Officials at the scene reported that the bus never flipped over or struck another vehicle on its path across the highway.
The northbound side of the highway was closed to traffic to allow a MedFlight helicopter to land and transport the bus driver to Boston.
State police reported the bus line involved was Cyr and Sons, a commercial carrier out of Old Town, Maine. A man who answered the phone at the company’s office late last night said company officials were gathering information about the crash. As of press time, no official cause had been determined.