About noon on Sunday, September 10, 2017, an estimated 3,000 motorcyclists gathered at the Augusta Civic Center in Augusta, Kennebec County, Maine, to participate in the 36th annual United Bikers of Maine (UBM) Toy Run, a charity event in which motorcyclists join in a group ride, bringing a toy to the gathering. From the civic center, the motorcyclists were first to travel north on Interstate 95 (I-95) between exits 112B and 113. They were to enter I-95 using the on-ramp north of exit 112B and to depart I-95 at exit 113. After leaving the interstate, the motorcyclists were to proceed east on Route 3/202 and then south on Route 32, reaching their destination at the Windsor Fairgrounds.
As the UBM Toy Run began, the large number of motorcyclists merging onto the interstate caused a traffic queue on northbound I-95 between exits 112B and 113. The motorcycles were queued in a staggered formation. The distance between the exits is only about 0.5 mile and, in the northbound merge area, the roadway transitions from four to three lanes (left, center, and right lanes). At the crash location, the northbound roadway consisted of these three lanes. There was no traffic control, lane closure, or law enforcement presence on I-95 to provide warning, management, or protection for the queue of motorcyclists.
About 12:05 p.m., a 2007 Harley-Davidson XL 1200 motorcycle (vehicle 1), which was participating in the group ride, suddenly moved out of the right lane, traveled across the center lane, and entered the left lane in front of a 2008 Ford F250 pickup truck (vehicle 2), occupied by a 67-year-old male driver and a 99-year-old female passenger, which was traveling north on I-95. The motorcycle was carrying a 25-year-old male operator and a 26-year-old female passenger. Based on skid mark evidence, the pickup truck driver attempted an evasive maneuver but collided with the motorcycle at about mile marker 112.5, losing control of his vehicle, in part because the pickup truck had “collected” the Harley-Davidson XL 1200 motorcycle, causing the pickup truck to rotate clockwise. The pickup truck veered out of the left lane to the right and traveled across the center and right northbound lanes, striking four other motorcycles.
The pickup truck then went through the right guardrail, overturned, and came to rest on its passenger side. The 2007 Harley-Davidson motorcycle traveled through the guardrail and came to rest on its right side in a ditch beside the pickup truck.
As a result of the crash, two motorcyclists died. One motorcyclist and the pickup truck passenger received serious injuries. The pickup truck driver and four motorcyclists received minor injuries.