PORTSMOUTH. R.I (WPRI) — Five people, including an infant, were taken to the hospital with serious injuries Thursday morning after a crash in Portsmouth.
Police said a vehicle traveling southbound on West Main Road in the area of Melville Elementary School crossed over the center of the roadway just after 9 a.m. and hit another vehicle head-on.
One of the drivers, a 32-year-old woman, had to be extricated from her vehicle following the crash, police said. She and her three children — a 13-year-old, a 5-year-old and an infant — were injured and transported to area hospitals.
“The eldest son in the vehicle was probably the most critical in our estimation and the first person we transported,” Portsmouth Fire Lt. Joshua Berube said.
The driver of the other vehicle, a 34-year-old woman, was also hurt in the crash, according to police.
Berube said the rescue took longer than it should have since they would normally send 10 first responders to a scene like that, but they weren’t able to due to other calls in the area.
“We only had four people. We had two people in an engine and two people at a rescue,” he said.
One of those calls was for a protest outside Raytheon’s facility in Portsmouth, where demonstrators had blocked the entrance. A group called The FANG Collective said they were protesting the company’s weapon sales to Saudi Arabia and Israel.
Two protesters were arrested and charged with trespassing, disorderly conduct, obstructing police, and conspiracy, police said.
12 News reached out to The FANG Collective about Thursday’s crash, and they responded by saying they shouldn’t be blamed for something they had nothing to do with.
“We send our best wishes to the individuals hurt in the accident that took place today,” the statement read. “We condemn the police for claiming that our peaceful protest, which was not within view of the site of the accident, was responsible. They are using our protest as a convenient scapegoat.”
Berube said the crash was far enough away from Raytheon that there’s no reason to believe protestors caused it, but he did say that speed appeared to be a factor.