WATERVILLE — The driver of a tractor-trailer hauling golf tees Thursday on Interstate 95 apparently was distracted, causing the truck to crash into guardrails at the Kennedy Memorial Drive overpass and then jackknife, according to state police.

Traffic was backed up in the northbound lanes well into the afternoon following the 10:19 a.m. accident and vehicles were detoured off the highway to Kennedy Memorial Drive.

By 3:30 p.m., the wreck had been removed from I-95 and traffic was expected to be back to normal in a short time, according to Steve McCausland, spokesman for the state Department of Public Safety. Northbound traffic had been backed up most of the day into Sidney, at least 6 or 7 miles south of the accident, as the scene was cleaned up.

The truck driver, Paul Cusano, 54, of Epping, New Hampshire, was taken to the hospital with minor injuries.

Cusano was driving north in the 2010 Volvo truck when it struck the guardrails on the east side of I-95 just before the overpass, then crossed over and hit the west side before crashing on the east side north of the overpass, according to state police Trooper Chris Carr.

“He hit the guardrails and jackknifed and came to rest up on the guardrails,” Carr said at the scene.

The truck, whose cab door bore the name PLK Trucking, Epping, New Hampshire, was destroyed, according to Carr. The truck was hauling a shipping container full of golf tees, McCausland said.

Cusano, who was walking around at the scene, was taken by Delta Ambulance to Inland Hospital. A hospital spokeswoman said around 4 p.m. that he had been treated and released.

Waterville firefighters, state Department of Transportation workers and state police worked at the scene, where the truck and its trailer were twisted and lying in the northbound travel and breakdown lanes, with the truck cab facing south and the trailer facing north. Debris from the crash was strewn across the highway. Tires of vehicles passing through the scene before traffic was detoured off the highway made cracking sounds as they drove over what appeared to be pieces of plastic.

Firefighters put sawdust on the road near the truck’s cab to soak up fluids, including spilled diesel. McCausland said the state Department of Environmental Protection cleaned up the fuel.

At the time of the crash, the truck was heading to Pride Manufacturing, a Burnham company that makes wooden golf tees.

Vehicles leaving I-95 via exit 127 turned onto Kennedy Memorial Drive to head east to Waterville or west to Oakland, or they crossed over Kennedy Memorial Drive to re-enter I-95 to continue going north.

Waterville police reported no difficulties with traffic in the city as a result of traffic being rerouted off I-95, but northbound highway traffic was backed up into Sidney, at least 6 or 7 miles.

Waterville police Chief Joseph Massey said, however, that he and Sgt. Alden Weigelt waited in traffic on I-95 for about an hour and a half Thursday afternoon before arriving in Waterville from Portland, where they had attended a conference.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17

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