W.Va. woman injured in auto crash

June 25, 1997


Staff Writer, Charles Town

RANSON, W.Va. - Jefferson County firefighters rescued a Charles Town, W.Va., woman from the wreckage of her van Tuesday afternoon after a two-vehicle accident on Leetown Pike about two miles outside of Ranson.

Pamela Hernandez was flown to Washington County Hospital in Hagerstown by a Maryland State Police helicopter after rescuers managed to pull the dash off her legs, authorities said.

She was in critical condition at the hospital Tuesday night before being flown to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore, hospital officials said.


Independent Fire Co. Chief Ed Smith said she had an unknown chest injury and broken legs.

Hernandez was traveling west on Leetown Pike when a truck driven by Richard Nelson, age and address unavailable, crossed the center line and struck her van head on, said Sgt. Robert Shirley of the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department. Nelson was still being assessed at the emergency room at Jefferson Memorial Hospital in Ranson Tuesday night.

The accident occurred at 4:56 p.m. when Hernandez was on her way to pick up her children from day care, witnesses said.

The two vehicles struck and stopped with the truck jammed against the van's driver's side door, Smith said.

Hernandez was trapped in the van for nearly 40 minutes, authorities said.

It was unknown what caused Nelson to cross the center line, Shirley said.

There were no signs of tire skid marks, indicating neither driver had a chance brake before the accident, Shirley said.

Firefighters had to pull the passenger side door off to pull the man out of truck, Smith said.

The truck was then pulled away from the van by cables hooked to a winch at the front of the fire engine, he said.

Firefighters then worked to cut off the roof above the van's cab and then worked to roll the van's dash away from her legs, Smith said.

The 95-degree heat took a toll on firefighters working on the rescue, Smith said.

"The heat's terrible when you have 45 pounds of gear on protecting you," Smith said.

"I give these ambulance guys credit. They do a good job," Shirley said.

Staff Writer Lisa Graybeal contributed to this story.

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