By Mac Cerullo
---- — AMESBURY – A serious auto accident temporarily shut down Interstate 495 North in Amesbury yesterday, resulting in serious injuries to one driver and a traffic backup that stretched for miles.
According to state police spokesman Thomas Murphy, at 3 p.m. a female driver traveling down I-495 South struck another car and then veered across the median into oncoming traffic on the northbound side. The driver then struck at least three more cars, resulting in serious injuries to the female and possibly other injuries to the drivers of the other vehicles.
The female was subsequently transported to Anna Jaques Hospital in Newburyport for treatment. State Police wouldn’t identify the victim following the crash because they were still trying to notify her next of kin at that point in time.
The accident occurred near Exit 54 in Amesbury, about a quarter mile south of the Route 150 intersection on a relatively flat and straight section of the highway. After the crash, the entire I-495 North roadway was closed for about 40 minutes, resulting in a traffic backup that stretched as far away as Route 28 in Andover, according to reports. Route 28 is about 18 miles from Amesbury.
While the road was blocked, traffic was temporarily diverting into Merrimac and spilling over onto Route 110, which parallels I-495. The left lane of I-495 North was eventually opened at approximately 3:40 p.m., and all lanes were clear at approximately 4:45 p.m., Murphy said.
Traffic continued to be slow for hours after the accident, due to commuters returning home from work and vacation-bound travelers heading north to the local beaches as well as New Hampshire and Maine.