A crash Tuesday afternoon on the Maine Turnpike in Litchfield slowed traffic in both directions and briefly stopped northbound traffic in the area as damaged vehicles were removed from the highway.

The Maine Turnpike Authority lifted the crash alert at 5:33 p.m., signaling that traffic was moving once again.

Trooper Lee Vanadestine said Pauley Sanipass, of the Canadian province of New Brunswick, was driving south on the turnpike about 2:41 p.m. in a 2016 Chevrolet. Sanipass was about 14 miles south of the West Gardiner toll booth when she started to pass a motor home towing a sport utility vehicle and the motor home’s steering axle apparently failed, blowing out the right front tire.

The motor home’s driver, Joseph Masterson, 74, of Polk City, Florida, steered toward the median strip from the right lane, Vanadestine said. He’s not sure whether the motor home struck Sanipass’ car, but both vehicles crossed into the median. The motor home, a Winnebago, struck and took out about 200 feet of guardrail between the lanes and ended up on the northbound side of the highway.

“Debris from the guardrail and dirt was thrown thru the air,” Steve McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety, said in a news release Wednesday morning. “Approximately one hundred feet of guardrail was demolished.”

When the dirt flew into the air, Sanipass could not see and veered off into the median, rolling her vehicle over, McCausland said.

A witness said the car was seen off the highway with someone still in it as passersby gathered around it.

Vanadestine said Sanipass, whose car was destroyed, suffered a broken arm and was taken to MaineGeneral Medical Center in Augusta for treatment. She was treated for non-life threatening injuries and released.

The trooper said Masterson, who was traveling with his wife from New Brunswick, was not injured, but the motor home was a total loss. The SUV suffered only minimal damage, he said.

In all, damages were estimated at $600,000. That amount includes the destroyed guardrail.

While emergency responders were on the scene, the Maine Turnpike Authority urged drivers to use caution in the area; the left lanes of both the northbound and southbound sides were blocked after the crash and traffic was also reduced to one lane at the crash site for about two hours.

No summonses were issued and criminal charges are not expected.

Jessica Lowell — 621-5632

[email protected]

Twitter: @JLowellKJ

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