Errant Driver Strikes Three Vehicles, Stopped by Passing Bulldozer in New Hampshire

Jaffrey, NH fire, rescue and ambulance personnel were toned to a multi-car motor vehicle accident in the heart of downtown during rush hour on October 26, 2004. Units arriving at the 4:25 PM incident found a heavily damaged 1995 Chevrolet Blazer, driven by an 86 year-old resident, butted against a Caterpillar bulldozer.

Police investigation determined the vehicle had been traveling south on Route 202, when it left the roadway and drove over a curb adjoining a Welcome Center kiosk, where it struck a parked 1996 Subaru. It then continued back onto the roadway, where it rear-ended a 2003 Chevrolet pickup, and then struck a 1987 Toyota pickup. The SUV then continued westbound through the major, five-way intersection, crossing over into the opposite lane of traffic, into the path of an oncoming Caterpillar bulldozer, whose driver had witnessed the collisions. In anticipation of the impending impact, the driver lowered the front bucket of the bulldozer, and was able to bring the SUV to a stop.

A Jaffrey fire officer who had witnessed the collisions radioed Southwest New Hampshire Fire District Mutual Aid, which had already received a report of the accident. Jaffrey Fire Chief David Chamberlain was among the first on the scene. As a result of his initial assessment of the major damage to the SUV, he immediately called for mutual aid from neighboring Peterborough, for an additional set of Jaws. Simultaneously, he inquired as to the availability of a Life Flight helicopter, to learn that one was available from University of Massachusetts Memorial Medical Center in Worcester. That unit was dispatched, with an ETA of twenty-two minutes.

Crews worked for more than a half-hour on the vehicle, using a variety of tools to remove the windshield and peel back the roof, to enable them to extricate the patient. The UMass Memorial Life Flight landed at nearby Silver Ranch Airport, where the medics were met by Jaffrey Ambulance, which transported them to the scene, and then back, with the patient, from where they left for the twenty-minute trip to the hospital.

Investigation continues into the accident; preliminary reports indicate that the driver suffered serious injuries.