SOUTH PORTLAND — A father and his two young children escaped serious injury Tuesday night after the front end of their sport utility vehicle was nearly cut in half after it struck a guardrail on the new Veterans Memorial Bridge.

Sgt. John Sutton said the man told police he was heading south on the bridge around 9 p.m. when a vehicle in the right lane started to veer into his lane.

His Chevrolet Suburban struck the end of guardrail, which sliced through the front hood of his car, his front windshield and the roof of the SUV.

“He hit the guardrail head-on so it was like hitting a (metallic) spear,” Sutton said.

The southbound lane of the bridge had to be shut down for about 45 minutes to allow emergency crews the room they needed to remove the wreckage.

The driver was not injured but his children were taken by ambulance to Maine Medical Center as a precautionary measure.