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    Apr 2003
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    Traffic crawls along turnpike after two crashes cause big delays


    Democrat Staff Writer

    DOVER ó A city fire truck responding to a rollover accident on the Spaulding Turnpike was itself involved in an accident at about 4 p.m. Wednesday when it was struck by a vehicle on the highway.

    There were no serious injuries in either accident but traffic on the northbound lanes of the turnpike was backed up for more than a mile for several hours.

    The accident involving the Dover Fire & Rescue squad occurred when firefighter Mark Rutherford, 45, of Rollinsford, heading north on the turnpike to use the emergency cross over located between exits 8 and 9, was responding to the scene of a rollover accident at exit 8W on the southbound side.

    While attempting to turn around in the emergency cross over, the Dover Rescue squad truck he was driving was struck.

    The Dover Fire Department and state police say the black sport utility vehicle, driven by Brenda Burnside, 31, of Springvale, Maine, attempted to pass the truck, swerved and hit the right rear of the rescue truck.

    The impact sent the engine compartment into the passenger area, pinning her inside the car.

    Rutherford, who drives the truck which holds all the vehicle extraction tools, began using the departmentís hydraulic apparatus to cut the roof off, pry open the door and lift up the steering wheel to the vehicle, Deputy Fire Chief Richard Driscoll said.

    The driver was pinned inside the car for 35 minutes until she was transported to Wentworth-Douglass Hospital. She was later treated and released, fire officials said.

    Driscoll credited Rutherford for responding the driver pinned in her vehicle so quickly.

    "Iím proud of (Rutherford)," he said, "He had been involved in an accident and went to work right away before additional trucks arrived on scene."

    Fire officials and state police say prior to the accident, Rutherford had his sirens and emergency lights on, as well as his directional light indicating he was turning left into the southbound lanes for the first accident.

    In that accident, state police say a Honda Civic rolled over on the highway and landed on its roof.

    The driver of the Honda, Petros Lasko, 39, of Wakefield, was not injured but a passenger suffered a minor hand injury.

    There are no charges at this time and the accidents remain under investigation.

    The rescue squad suffered damage to the right rear bumper and storage compartment but the vehicle is still in use. Fire officials expect to know today how much it will cost to repair the truck.
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