LENOX — A dramatic three-vehicle collision on Routes 7 and 20 on Tuesday morning left five people injured and closed southbound traffic for more than an hour, according to Lenox police.
Brett Stimpson, 27, of Pittsfield, was headed northbound about 11:19 a.m. in a 1999 compact Chevy Blazer when he drifted into the southbound lane near Days Inn, slamming into a 2014 Hyundai sedan driven by Robert Bender, 67, of Dalton, according to Lenox Police Chief Stephen O'Brien.
The impact propelled Bender's sedan over a guardrail and then into the woods, he said.
Stimpson's vehicle then slammed head-on into a 2008 Jeep Cherokee driven by Lola Stoll, 49, of Monterey, police said.
"The extent of damage to the vehicles hit by Stimpson was extreme," O'Brien said. Air bags deployed in all three vehicles.
Emergency responders used two separate Jaws of Life units to extricate Stimpson, who suffered what appeared to be severe injuries, O'Brien said, and Bender.
Betty Bender, 67, who was a passenger in her husband's vehicle, and Bethany Cox, 39, of Lenox, a passenger in Stoll's vehicle, also were injured.
All five victims were transported to Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield, O'Brien said. Robert Bender was treated and released; the others all were listed in stable condition, according to a hospital spokesman.
O'Brien said it appears all five victims had been wearing seat belts.
The cause of the accident remains under investigation, O'Brien said, though it appears that criminal charges will be filed against Stimpson after he's able to speak with police.
He did not elaborate on what those charges might be.
Lenox Officer John Willey, who is investigating the accident, and Officer Sean Ward responded to the scene, assisted by Lenox EMS, the Lenox Fire Department, state police from the Lee barracks and Stockbridge Police.
Jaws of Life extrication units from the Lenox and Pittsfield fire departments also responded. Victims were transported by Lenox Ambulance and County Ambulance.
Pittsfield Road was closed southbound at New Lenox Road until about 12:30 p.m. as police investigated the accident. Northbound traffic proceeded slowly around the accident scene.