Colleton County Fire-Rescue


02/05/2011 – “B” Shift – MVC with Entrapment

Incident # 11-00679 - The busy ACE Basin Parkway (US Hwy 17) was closed for seven hours Friday due to an over-turned tractor trailer approximately 1 mile south of Jacksonboro (Pon Pon Plantation Road). Fire-Rescue was notified of the accident at 11:55 reporting a vehicle accident near this location. As additional callers reported to 9-1-1, the accident was reported to involve an over-turned tractor trailer with one person trapped inside. Engine 6 and Medic 6  arrived to find one tractor trailer on its roof in the middle of the highway blocking the entire road. The 20 foot container the truck was hauling had broken off of the trailer and laying in one travel lane south of the accident. The container had a white dust coming from its broken roof and side giving the appearance it was smoking. The driver of the northbound newer model Kenworth truck stated he dropped off of the right shoulder of the road during heavy rains. The driver over-corrected as he came back on the highway causing the rig to jack-knife before it flipped over on to its roof. The truck received massive damage in the collision. The accident occurred in a construction zone. Additional Fire-Rescue units were assigned to the incident including a Hazardous Materials Response.

The driver of the truck received only minor injuries and was able to climb out of the wreckage on his own. He was treated at the scene for his injuries and eventually transported by Medic 9 to Colleton Medical Center. The unrestrained female passenger was heavily entrapped in the mangled cab. The first Firefighter-Paramedic to reach the woman crawled into the cab through the broken driver’s side window. Once inside, he only had access to her upper torso and arms. The truck had a large sleeper which was filled with personal belongings, including a bed, a refrigerator and a tv. She was face down and pinned under a large amount of debris. The cab roof was displaced and pushed flat with the seat on the passenger side. Firefighters began removing items from the cab to get as much weight off of the woman as possible. Once Rescue 1 arrived, crewmembers used Holmatro Hydraulic Tools to cut several supports that were blocking the door and then used a hydraulic spreader to force open the driver’s door. This provided additional access to the cab. Other Firefighters used a reciprocating saw and hydraulic cutters to cut a large hole in the side of the crushed sleeper. The larger opening provided more space to remove items from the cab.

Personnel worked for about an hour to obtain a good view of the woman, only to find her legs and hips were crushed on the opposite side of the cab and could not be accessed from the driver’s side. A second crew had already been working on the passenger side which was crushed almost to the pavement. With very limited space to work, the upper portion of the cab was cut away and the supports for the doors were severed. The cut portions were moveable, but personnel could not dislodge them. A heavy duty wrecker and several pieces of heavy equipment from Wood Brothers Construction Company were already on the scene to perform the cleanup and removal of the wreckage. Wood Brothers personnel used a “Bobcat” type front end loader, rigged with chains to forcibly remove the crumpled door. A second attempt was also successful in removing additional lodged debris from under the cab. Firefighters were then able to access the woman’s legs which were crushed between the seat, door frame and roof. Hydraulic tools were used to cut the seat supports and hydraulic rams were positioned to attempt to displace the roof, however the weight of the truck only caused the floor to fail, not moving the seat or floor. After several attempts, it was decided to use the Construction Company’s trackhoe to lift the cab.

This took about twenty minutes to rig the underside of the chassis with heavy duty chains from the wrecker. Firefighters cribbed the vehicle as the trackhoe operator slowly and skillfully lifted the truck into the air. The truck was raised about two feet and cribbed in place.

Firefighters were then able to use the hydraulic rams to displace the roof and work the seat into a position to free the woman’s legs. She had been treated throughout the incident by Firefighter-Paramedics and given pain medications to ease her discomfort. IV fluids were warmed in the ambulance before administration. Temperatures were in the upper 30’s and hypothermia was a major concern, especially since personnel could not completely cover the woman to keep her warm. After nearly 3 hours she was extricated with full spinal precautions and placed into Medic 6. Due to poor weather conditions, no medical helicopters could fly, so she was transported by Medic 6 directly to the Trauma Center at MUSC in Charleston. She remained in stable condition.  SCDOT rerouted traffic for the seven hours until the scene could be cleared. A construction crew made repairs to the highway while it was closed, which included filling in several large holes caused from the crash and resurfacing a portion of the highway.

Engine 6, Tender 2, Medic 6, Medic 9, Rescue 1, HazMat 19, Car 12, Car 111, Car 118, Car 119 responded. Asst. Chief David Greene served as Incident Commander.