CHELSEA — A Kennebec County Sheriff’s deputy and six inmates escaped serious injury Wednesday when the county jail van they were in was hit from behind by a distracted driver on Route 9.

Six inmates were taken to MaineGeneral Medical Center in Augusta with what Kennebec County Sheriff Randall Liberty described as minor injuries. Two inmates were taken by ambulance and four others in a prisoner transport van, Liberty said.

Inmates taken in the ambulance and those taken by van were accompanied by deputies.

Neither the van’s driver, Deputy Ryan Richardson, 21, nor the driver of the second vehicle, Lynn Cyr, 28, of Winthrop, were injured, said Maine State Police Trooper Timothy Black, who investigated the crash.

The accident occurred around 3:30 p.m. as Richardson was driving the inmates from the Kennebec County jail to Two Bridges Regional Jail in Wiscasset.

Richardson slowed the van in traffic while waiting for children getting off a school bus near the high-voltage power lines crossing the Kennebec River. Cyr, who had been following the van in the southbound lane, didn’t notice the van had stopped and hit it from behind, Black said.

Cyr admitted she was not paying attention to the road. “She said she was reaching down for something,” Black said.

There was no indication Cyr applied her brakes before hitting the van, Black said. Neither speed nor substances was a factor in the crash, Black said, and there are no charges.

Traffic was detoured around the area for about 30 minutes, Black said.

Liberty said containing the inmates and securing public safety are the primary concerns when prisoners are on board a vehicle involved in a crash. Liberty commended Richardson for providing that security in the moments after the crash.

“It was a good indication of the training and mentorship he’s had,” Liberty said. “He did a great job.”

Craig Crosby — 621-5642

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