North Stonington — Three people were injured and the southbound side of Interstate 95 was closed for nearly four hours Thursday in the wake of a multivehicle accident involving a state Department of Transportation truck.
The 2:30 p.m. crash occurred just south of Exit 93, when state police said a van driven by 63-year-old Glen Kelley of Wisconsin struck the last in a line of state DOT trucks lined up and performing pothole repairs in the center lane of three.
State DOT spokesman Kevin Nursick said the DOT truck, with flashing beacons and a crash attenuation system, was struck at a high rate of speed. Nursick said the van somehow missed the barrels attached to the back of the DOT truck that are designed to minimize damage on impact.
State police said Kelley was in the left lane and struck the side of the DOT truck. The side of the van was ripped off and caused serious injuries to the two passengers inside. Another vehicle traveling in the left lane struck the van after it hit the DOT truck.
Life Star landed on the highway shortly after 3 p.m. following what emergency officials described as a prolonged extrication of one of the passengers.
Evette Arias, 53, of Pawtucket, R.I., one of the passengers in Kelley's van, was flown by Life Star to Rhode Island Hospital with serious injuries. Kelley and a second passenger, Lydia Diaz, 37, of Pawtucket, were taken by North Stonington Ambulance to The Westerly Hospital.
The driver of the vehicle that hit the van after the crash and the driver of the DOT truck, Frank Sierpinski of Ledyard, were not injured.
I-95 South reopened shortly before 6:30 p.m. Traffic at one point had backed up into Rhode Island.
The crash remains under investigation.