ATTLEBORO -- Two people are dead and nine others seriously injured in a rollover crash late Saturday morning on Interstate 95 south near Exit 3, according to state police.
Two vehicles, a passenger van, and an SUV, were involved in the incident occurring shortly after 11 a.m., which led to the shutdown of all southbound lanes of the highway as rescue crews aided the victims.
A preliminary investigation by State Trooper Michael Bartucca indicates a 2004 Ford Econoline van was traveling on I-95 northbound in the area of Exit 3 when it was struck by a 2018 Toyota RAV 4, which was also traveling northbound in an adjacent lane. Both vehicles then crossed over the median. The van rolled over and crashed in the southbound travel lanes and the Toyota, which did not roll over, came to rest in the breakdown lane on the southbound side, state police said in a social media post.
All eleven people in the van were ejected during the rollover. The injured were transported to Rhode Island Hospital in Providence. One person in the van was declared dead at the hospital a short time later. A second person died of his injuries later in the day, according to a social media post by state police. The operator of the Toyota, a 32-year-old East Providence, R.I. woman, was transported to Rhode Island Hospital for treatment of minor injuries.
Both of the fatalities are adult males who were occupants of the van that rolled over, police said.
The van was operating as part of a tour group which caters to the Polish-American community. It is believed that this tour may have picked up passengers in Philadelphia, P.A., Trenton, Linden, and Wallington, N.J., and New York City, with a destination of various sites in Massachusetts, police said.
Identification of the occupants of the van is ongoing.
Public safety officials declared a mass casualty incident due to the number of people injured.
Ambulances from Attleboro, North Attleboro, Pawtucket, Cumberland, Central Falls and Seekonk were called to the scene to assist and transport the injured.
Attleboro and North Attleboro police assisted state police at the scene, along with MassDOT.
The ramp from Interstate 295 onto I-95 was also closed for a time.
Two lanes were reopened on I-95 south shortly after 1 p.m. All lanes were reopened a while later.
The crash remains under investigation with assistance from the State Police Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Section, Crime Scene Services Section, Troop H Detectives, and state police assigned to the Bristol County District Attorney’s Office. No charges have been filed at this time, police said.