Note: This story was last updated at 9:30 p.m.
Rescuers said it was a miracle that a woman survived when a trailer carrying a small loader crashed into her Toyota Camry on Emory Valley Road on Friday evening.
It took the Oak Ridge Fire Department about 55 minutes to remove the woman, who was pinned inside the car. She was flown by a Lifestar medical helicopter to the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville.
The woman, who was not identified, was talking to rescuers, authorities said. Her condition wasn’t clear, but she was reported to be conscious and alert.
“That’s probably the worst extrication I’ve seen where the person was still alive,” Oak Ridge Fire Chief Darryl Kerley said. “There was an angel with her today.”
The crash was reported at about 5:30 p.m. Friday at the intersection of Emory Valley Road and Carnegie Drive in east Oak Ridge. The woman was put into an ambulance and taken to Roane State Community College at about 6:37 p.m. A Lifestar helicopter picked her up there.
During the rescue, firefighters had to try to get pressure off the woman, Kerley said. They used wooden cribbing from a heavy rescue truck to keep the dual-axle trailer and small Case skid steer loader stable as they used a tow truck to lift the trailer and loader up from the Camry. They put support blocks under the car also.
The extrication was complex because the weight of the trailer and the skid steer loader were on the woman, Kerley said.
Also, the brake pedal and floorboard were wrapped around her feet, and the driver’s compartment was compressed down on her. Even when rescuers cut away the car from around her, the driver was still held in by her foot, Kerley said. The Oak Ridge Fire Department used a special hydraulic cutter to cut away the brake pedal, which was holding her in.
The driver of the other vehicle involved in the crash, a dump truck, was not injured, authorities said.
Emory Valley Road was temporarily shut down for several hours Friday evening as the Oak Ridge Police Department and Oak Ridge Fire Department, along with help from a Lifestar crew and Anderson County EMS, rescued the woman. They were able to give her oxygen and intravenous fluids.
The cause of the crash wasn’t immediately clear. At the crash site, the trailer and loader were separated from the dump truck. The Oak Ridge Police Department was investigating.
Kerley said 11 firefighters were involved in the rescue, along with two heavy rescue trucks, a light rescue truck, two fire engines, a battalion chief, and the fire chief. Several police officers responded as well, some to detour traffic, and so did Oak Ridge Deputy Police Chief Robin Smith.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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