The College of the Atlantic students were riding in a van that crashed in Thorndike on Sunday.

Seven College of the Atlantic students who were taken to the hospital after a two-vehicle crash in Thorndike on Sunday have been released, according to school officials.

Connor O’Brien, a student, was driving a 2014 GMC Savana van owned by the college when he apparently failed to yield the right-of-way to another van before turning onto Crosby Brook Road off Route 220, Maine State Police said. The driver of the other van was also hospitalized, along with seven of nine students in the college van.

The crash, just outside the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association’s Common Ground fairgrounds, destroyed the two vehicles.

The students are now back at the Bar Harbor college or home with their families, Rob Levin, director of communications for College of the Atlantic, said Monday.

College of the Atlantic has a fleet of seven vans used to transport students as part of the “educational experience,” Levin said. Any member of the college’s community can drive one of the vans as long as they have a license and a clean record over the past three years. This is the first time one of its vans has been involved in a crash, according to Levin, and the college is liable for the damage.

While the college will look into possible changes to its current policy, no decisions have been made, Levin said. The college is still reviewing the incident and has no plans at this time to discipline the driver, Levin said.

The group was heading to Unity for Great Maine Apple Day when the crash occurred, according to a history professor from the college.

“Our thoughts and good wishes go out to everyone involved,” Levin said Monday. He said the college is grateful there were no life-threatening injuries and is providing support to those involved.

Julia Clemens, a student in the GMC Savana van, suffered a head injury and was taken by LifeFlight helicopter to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor. Clemens, 25, was in a stable condition with injuries that were not considered life threatening.

Six other students with non-life threatening injuries were taken to Inland Hospital in Waterville. State police identified the students as Leigh Rinkan, 18; Abigail Jackson, 20; Amber Wolfe, 20; Paige Hill, 23; Alijah Santenr, 19; Gillian Welch, 20; and Teegan Rose, 19. All are believed to be from out of state, according to state police spokesman Stephen McCausland.

Benjamin Stowe, 64, of Pennsylvania, was driving south on Route 220 in a 1996 white Ford conversion van when the crash happened, police said. Stowe was alone in his van at the time and suffered a broken knee and fractured wrist, according to State Trooper Bethany Robinson. He was taken to Waldo County General Hospital in Belfast.

Madeline St. Amour can be contacted at 861-9239 or at:

[email protected] Twitter: @madelinestamour


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