By Dave Rogers
BYFIELD — An Amesbury man is dead after the white Chevrolet pickup truck he was driving crashed on Interstate 95 north near Exit 55 in Byfield yesterday afternoon.
Paul McCassie, 28, of Monroe Street was pronounced dead at 8 p.m. at Boston Medical Center in Boston about three hours after the horrific one-vehicle crash. While the cause of the crash is still under investigation, state police believe the right rear tire of his 2001 Silverado blew out as he was traveling in the far-left travel lane.
As McCassie attempted to maintain control of the vehicle, he entered the center median and then re-entered the roadway before rolling over several times.
The lone passenger in the truck, Matthew Melanson, 27, of South Hampton, was transported to Anna Jaques Hospital in Newburyport and is currently in intensive care.
Both victims were not wearing seat belts and were ejected from the vehicle. McCassie was airlifted to Boston Medical Center via helicopter that landed on the northbound side of the highway. Melanson was transported by ambulance to Anna Jaques Hospital.
The force of the crash flattened the passenger compartment and sheared off the front tire and part of the axle, spotted several yards away from the truck. Debris, including a shoe, soda bottles and clothing, was strewn all over the highway.
The highway was closed for about 20 minutes to accommodate rescue workers and to provide plenty of space to land the helicopter. During the investigation, northbound traffic was limited to one lane, and then, two lanes before the scene were cleared at 7:30 p.m. Traffic was backed up for roughly 3 miles on the northbound side, according to state police.
Several motorists stuck behind the crash were seen exiting their vehicles to get a better look or to stretch their legs. Some passengers opted to leave their cars and walk up the exit ramp onto Central Street. Some caught in the traffic jam warned others to avoid the highway via Twitter. On the Central Street bridge overpass, several motorists had pulled over and watched emergency units from Newbury, Byfield, Georgetown and the Troop A state police barracks in Newbury work the crash site.