FALMOUTH — A 13-car crash on I-295 Tuesday afternoon was exacerbated by motorists following too close together at high speeds, police said today.

Falmouth police first responded to a crash in the northbound lanes at the Johnson Road overpass that involved nine vehicles.

The initial crash happened after what police called “a phantom slowdown” – the sudden slowing of traffic for no apparent reason. Several cars slammed into one another in the passing lane, including one that ended up wedged under a box truck.

Fortunately, everyone involved in the crash was wearing seatbelts and nobody was seriously injured, police said.

That crash caused a traffic tie-up that led to a second collision involving four cars near Exit 10 in Falmouth.

Shortly before 6 p.m. Tuesday, I-295 North reopened, but traffic was still heavy and slow, witnesses said. The heavily traveled road had to be closed for about two hours.

State Trooper Doug Cropper, who investigated the four-car pileup near Exit 10 in Falmouth, said traffic backed up to the Forest Avenue exit in Portland.

There were no charges pending in either crash.

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