Two crashes half an hour apart on Route 3 in Augusta and China today sent five people to the hospital, one with serious injuries.

Augusta police responded to a three-car crash on Route 3 between U.S. Route 201 and North Belfast Avenue at 4:45 p.m., according to a press release from Lt. Christopher Massey.

Massey said an eastbound car, driven by a 16-year-old girl from Mount Desert, crossed the center line, striking the rear of another car before striking another oncoming car head-on.

The 16-year-old and an 84-year-old family member were both taken to MaineGeneral Medical Center in Augusta, said Massey, who didn’t provide identities or details of injuries in the news release.

The 18-year-old driver of the car struck head-on, also female, had to be cut from her car, which Massey said took several minutes. She was taken to the hospital with serious injuries, he said. The operator of the vehicle struck in the back was not injured.

In China, three people escaped serious injury after the car they were riding in swerved to avoid a moose and crashed at approximately 5:08 p.m.

Thomas Doucette, 61, of Windsor was driving west on Route 3 in China, about a half-mile west of Tobey’s General Store, when he swerved off the road to avoid the moose crossing the road, said Deputy Nathan McNally of the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office.

The road was wet from a downpour, and McNally said the car hydroplaned before crashing into a piece of ledge on the side of the road.

Doucette’s stepmother, Muriel Doucette, 81, sitting in the passenger’s seat of the 2010 Chevrolet Malibu that she owned, had to be extricated from the car by China firefighters, McNally said. The car was totaled.

Both Muriel Doucette and Colleen Doucette, Thomas Doucette’s 52-year-old wife, were transported to MaineGeneral Medical Center after complaining from chest pain from airbags or seatbelts.

Thomas Doucette had scrapes and chest pain, but McNally said all injuries were minor.

Michael Shepherd — 621-5632
mshepherd@mainetoday.com