Whiteout conditions in Aroostook County Tuesday morning led to a motor vehicle pileup that involved 11 vehicles and resulted in serious injuries to one of the first responders – Van Buren’s police chief, who was hit by a car.

Among the vehicles involved in the crash on Route 1 in Cyr Plantation, which is just south of Van Buren, were seven passenger cars, one pickup truck, two Maine Department of Transportation plow trucks, and a Van Buren police cruiser that was not damaged.

“The heavy winds caused spotty whiteout conditions, which were severe at the scene of the crash,” said Steve McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety. Van Buren reported 23½ inches of snow from this past weekend’s storm.

McCausland said Van Buren Police Chief Michael Bresette was one of the first emergency responders to arrive at the crash, which was reported around 9:45 a.m.

Bresette was struck by a car after he stepped outside his cruiser. Bresette then dragged himself out of the road to avoid being hit by an oncoming truck.

McCausland said Bresette suffered “multiple non-life threatening injuries” that required him to be transported by ambulance to Cary Medical Center in Caribou. Bresette underwent surgery and was reported in stable condition Tuesday evening.

One of the Maine DOT plow truck operators, who was on foot after the pileup, also was hit and injured. Some of the other drivers were treated and released at the scene, while others were still receiving treatment Tuesday evening, according to McCausland. The extent of their injuries and the names of those involved have not been released yet.

The Van Buren Police Department, Maine Warden Service, Aroostook County Sheriff’s Office, Maine DOT and several local fire departments responded to the crash.


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