AUGUSTA – Several vehicles were damaged but no one was seriously hurt Friday in a multi-vehicle accident caused by a 15-foot-long pothole in a southbound lane of Interstate 95.

One person was taken to a hospital with minor injuries. At least five vehicles were damaged, including a sport utility vehicle that overturned, said Steve McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety.

Two other SUVs collided, and the pothole caused flat tires and damage on at least two other vehicles.

The pothole opened up on I-95 south beneath the Old Winthrop Road overpass around 2:30 p.m. It was about 15 feet long, 2 feet wide and 8 inches deep, said Department of Transportation spokesman Mark Latti.

“It was not a sinkhole,” he said. “It was a more common pothole, just much larger due to the amount of rain we’ve been getting.”

Department of Transportation crews fixed a smaller pothole in the area earlier this week. Workers inspected that patch job earlier Friday and saw no significant problems, Latti said.

Traffic backed up about three miles as the flow was reduced to one lane until shortly after 4 p.m.

State Police Trooper Sean Kinney said an SUV flipped after it hit the pothole and launched into a guardrail. The vehicle flipped over and came to rest on its wheels, Kinney said. He did not have the name of the driver, who was not injured.

The second crash occurred moments later as Joyce Lee, 61, of Bangor slowed the SUV she was driving in response to the first crash. Her vehicle was hit from behind by an SUV driven by Ashley Clark, 21, of Fairfield, Kinney said.

Lee complained of back pain and was taken by ambulance to MaineGeneral Medical Center, where she was treated and expected to be released Friday evening.

At least two other drivers were stranded at the roadside after hitting the pothole.

Daryl Harriman of Topsham said the brand new Ford Fiesta he was driving had two flat tires and a bent wheel after his encounter with the pothole.

Harriman, who was delivering the car from a dealership in Newport to one in Brunswick, said he had no time to react.

“By the time I got on it, I couldn’t do anything,” he said while waiting for a tow truck outside a filling station on Western Avenue. “I held on to it. I thought I was going in a ditch.”

Harriman said he was waiting in the breakdown lane when he saw the first SUV flip and then saw the two other vehicles crash.

He decided it would be safer to drive off the interstate, flat tires and all.

He said he was surprised to see such a large pothole on the interstate.

“I’d say you could lay a couple of people in it,” he said. “That’s quite a pothole.”

Drivers tend to look out for potholes on secondary roads, Kinney said, but when the hollows open up on the interstate, they can catch drivers off guard.

Latti said Friday’s weather was ideal for making potholes. “Heavy rain, along with the thawing of roads, is the perfect environment,” he said.

Department of Transportation crews will continue to monitor the interstate for signs of trouble, Latti said.