Note: This story was last updated at 4:28 p.m.
Neighbors called them the heroes of the day. Three Oak Ridge Police Department officers and at least one bystander lifted an Emory Valley Center van off of a woman who was partially pinned underneath it after a crash in Woodland on Tuesday morning.
Witnesses said the right arm and shoulder of the female passenger were pinned underneath the passenger side of the van after the crash, which was reported at about 10 a.m. Tuesday at the intersection of Northwestern and North Purdue avenues.
The three officers were identified as Cassen Garrison, Brandan Sharp, and Sergeant Pete Nance. Garrison’s right arm was bandaged. Witnesses said he used his hands to break out a back window of the Chevrolet Express van and rescue a male EVC client in the back of the van.
The female passenger, who was partially ejected, was flown to a hospital by a University of Tennessee Lifestar medical helicopter after it landed at the nearby Oak Ridge City Center. Three others were also reportedly taken to the hospital.
Ed Taylor, who lives at the Manhattan Apartments, also helped lift the van. Witnesses said other neighbors helped as well.
“We had to get that van off her,” Taylor said.
“All of them together, they certainly got the lady out of distress much quicker,” ORPD Deputy Chief Alan Massengill said.
ORPD Lieutenant Matt Tedford estimated the van weighed about 6,000 pounds, or three tons.
Reneé Van Druff was walking nearby when she heard the crash between the white EVC van and a red Toyota Prius.
“It was very loud,” she said. Van Druff said it sounded like a dump truck dropped a dumpster.
Jennifer Fox, who works for in-home health care provider Hope for Tomorrow, was driving through Woodland on nearby Rutgers Avenue when she saw the EVC van on its side. She tried to calm the three people inside, including the two employees (a male driver and the female who was pinned) and one adult male client, who was terrified, Fox said.
She said the woman pleaded for help. Garrison busted the back windows of the van, pulled out the EVC client, and then he and others lifted the van, Fox said.
More information will be added as it becomes available.