Five people were taken to hospitals Friday after a single-vehicle crash on Meadow Brook Road in New Portland. The crash occurred when a 2016 Lexus sport utility vehicle went out of control after the driver apparently fell asleep at the wheel, according to police. The Lexus left the road and struck trees on the left side of the road, also known as Route 16. Somerset County Sheriff’s Office photo

Five people were taken to hospitals Friday after a single-vehicle crash on Meadow Brook Road in New Portland that appeared to be caused by excessive speed and driver inattention.

Two of the passengers were taken to a Lewiston hospital by two LifeFlight helicopters that landed at the New Portland Fire Station, according to Michael Mitchell, chief deputy of the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office.

The 4:11 p.m. crash occurred when a 2016 Lexus sport utility vehicle being driven by Donald J. MacKinnon, 56, of New York City went out of control after he apparently fell asleep at the wheel, Mitchell said in a phone interview late Saturday morning. The Lexus left the road and struck some trees on the left side of the road, also known as Route 16, he said.

Mitchell said the group appeared to be on a skiing trip, as skis inside the vehicle struck some of its occupants in the back of the head when the crash occurred.

“Two adult passengers riding in the Lexus were LifeFlighted to Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston for evaluation and treatment of head injuries,” Mitchell said earlier in a news release. “The driver as well as two other adult passengers in the vehicle were transported by Northstar Ambulance Service to the Redington Fairview General Hospital in Skowhegan where they were treated for their non-life-threatening injuries. The vehicle was a total loss. All occupants in the vehicle were reportedly wearing seatbelts.”

While it appears excessive speed and driver inattention were contributing factors in the crash, the accident remains under investigation, according to Mitchell. He said Somerset Sheriff’s Sgt. Ritchie Putnam and deputies Toby Blodgett and Kyle Hazeltine worked at the scene and Blodgett is the primary investigator of the crash. Maine State Police and the New Portland Fire Department assisted them at the scene, he said.

Mitchell said in the phone interview that the crash occurred in a 35 mph speed zone on Meadow Brook Road.

“The driver went by Northstar Ambulance to Redington-Fairview General Hospital in Skowhegan, and he has a neck injury and possible left arm fracture and a possible back injury as well,” Mitchell said. “We don’t know his condition. It’s possible he might have been transferred to (Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center in) Bangor for further treatment of his injuries, along with another passenger in the vehicle who had injuries and was taken to Redington-Fairview.”

Sitting in the front passenger seat of the Lexus at the time of the crash was Margo MacKinnon, who was one of those LifeFlighted to the Lewiston hospital, according to Mitchell. A woman named Linda MacKinnon also was in the vehicle, though Mitchell did not have details about either woman’s age or their relationships to the driver. He said all the vehicle’s occupants were adults.

In the back seat of the Lexus were Nathan Hu, 19, who suffered a face injury, and Michael Julian, 56, who had a head injury, according to Mitchell. Their places of residence were unavailable Saturday morning.

Also unavailable was information about which passenger, other than Margo MacKinnon, was taken to the Lewiston hospital by LifeFlight, but Mitchell said one of those patients had been released by Saturday and the other was apparently still hospitalized with a possible concussion.

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