Three people died in a horrific head-on collision Monday morning in Westbrook on an icy stretch of Route 22 that hadn’t yet been treated by city road crews.

A pickup truck and a taxi collided shortly before 7 a.m. on Route 22, also known as County Road, near a blind crest in the road. All three people in the taxi were killed. The driver of the pickup truck was seriously injured.

Icy roads had been reported in some areas of the city as temperatures dipped before dawn, and salt and sanding trucks were on their way to treat roads near the crash site at the time the collision was reported, a city official said.

The National Weather Service office in Gray issued a special weather statement for all of southern Maine at 2:24 a.m. Monday warning that areas of light drizzle could create a thin layer of ice on roadways “that may be undetectable.”

The weather service statement urged drivers in Cumberland County and other affected areas to “use extreme caution, especially on bridges, overpasses and around curves. Allow plenty of stopping distance and avoid braking suddenly.” The special weather statement remained in effect through 9 a.m. Monday.

The taxi – a 2009 Toyota Camry registered to Orange Taxi and Transportation of Portland – was headed west when its driver apparently lost control and slid sideways across the center line, Westbrook Police Chief Janine Roberts said. The second vehicle, a Nissan Frontier pickup headed east, crested the hill and struck the side of the taxi.

The cab driver was identified as Hassan Idris Ali, 39, of Lewiston. His passengers were identified as Gregory E. Harriman, 50, of Sebago and Joshua R. Stone, 33, of Gorham. All three were pronounced dead at the scene, Roberts said. One of the passengers in the cab was breathing when first responders arrived, but he died before more help could arrive.

It was not known Monday night why Stone and Harriman were in the same taxi, where their ride originated or where it was going.

Westbrook Police Chief Janine Roberts describes the moments leading up to the accident. All three victims were pronounced dead at the scene, she said. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

A man who answered the phone for a number listed for Orange Taxi declined to comment and hung up Monday afternoon.

Reached on his cellphone Monday night, Omar Mohamed, one of Orange Taxi’s owners, would not talk in detail about where Ali had picked up his passengers and where they were heading. Mohamed said he was with a group of people who were “mourning the tragedy.” He declined to comment further.

The driver of the pickup truck, Lisa Libby, 60, of Hollis, suffered severe but non-life threatening injuries, including multiple broken ribs and a collapsed lung, and was being treated in the critical care unit at Maine Medical Center, Westbrook Fire Chief Andrew Turcotte said. A hospital spokesman said Libby was in serious condition Monday night.

Police said the cause of the crash is under investigation, but black ice had been reported in the area and a sanding truck was on its way to that part of the city to treat icy roads. It arrived shortly after the crash.

When police received the report of the fatal crash, officers were about half a mile away on County Road responding to a single vehicle that had rolled over, possibly because of speed and icy conditions, police said.

The first call-out to activate Westbrook’s salt and sanding crews came about 1:30 a.m., but police directed trucks to focus on areas north of the Presumpscot River, said Eric Dudley, Westbrook’s director of engineering and public service.

The directive to focus road salting efforts on the south side of Westbrook, including County Road, did not come until about 6:50 a.m., Dudley said. A Westbrook salt truck arrived on County Road about 7:05 a.m., just minutes after the crash, and was pictured in photo of the crash scene distributed on social media by the Westbrook Fire Department.

“We call it a flash freeze,” Dudley said. “Those wet roads froze and we couldn’t be in all places at once.”

County Road was closed to traffic until about 10:15 a.m.

Orange Taxi has been incorporated as a business since 2014, and is registered to two people: Mohamed and Mowlid Ahmed, according to business records held by the city of Portland and the Secretary of State’s office.

Ali completed a driver’s education course and received his learner’s permit in August 2017 before receiving a full driver’s license in October 2017. Since then, he has had no history of moving violations, according to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

However, Ali was not registered and licensed as a taxi driver through the city of Portland, city spokeswoman Jessica Grondin said.

Orange Taxi has only one taxi registered in city records, a 2006 Honda Odyssey van.

It was not clear Monday why neither Ali nor the Camry was registered through Orange Taxi.

Staff Writer Dennis Hoey contributed to this report.

Matt Byrne can be contacted at 791-6303 or at:

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