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JULY 22, 2005


Ewingville Road,
Ewing Township

On Friday, July 22, 2005, a crew of Lawrence Road Fire Co. volunteers responded into Ewing Township to help out at the scene of a major accident involving a school bus, a sport utility vehicle, and a car.

Station 22 firefighters attended to the sport utility vehicle, which had overturned onto its roof, while crews from all three Ewing fire companies worked to extricate the trapped driver of the car.

According to Ewing Township police, the accident occurred in the 200 block of Ewingville Road when an eastbound school bus, being driven by a woman whose age was not available, collided with a Mitsubishi Montero sport utility vehicle that was being driven westbound by a 47-year-old woman.

That collision caused the SUV to flip over onto its roof, injuring the driver and her passenger, a 48-year-old man.

The bus, meanwhile, continued a short distance and collided with a westbound Mazda Millennia driven by a 20-year-old man.

That impact forced the bus and car off the road into a nearby wooded area.

The 20-year-old man who reportedly suffered closed fractures to his left tibia, fibula and femur and an open fracture to his left ulna was heavily entrapped in the wreckage of his car.

The accident was reported to Ewing Township police at 12:34 p.m. Initially, a Ewing Township Emergency Medical Service (Squad 139) ambulance and Capital Health System paramedics were dispatched.

Based on radio traffic from police reporting multiple injuries and entrapment, Squad 139 EMT Eric Rowlands (who ultimately served as EMS command) requested a full rescue assignment be dispatched and that additional ambulances from Trenton EMS (Squad 174) and Hopewell Valley EMS (Squad 159) be sent.

It was 12:39 p.m. when firefighters from the Prospect Heights (Station 31), Pennington Road (Station 32), and West Trenton (Station 33) fire companies were alerted.

Squirt 31, Engine 31, Rescue 32 and Rescue 33 all responded.

While EMS personnel attended to the two patients from the overturned Montero (who had freed themselves and were lying on a nearby lawn) and the school bus' driver, firefighters set about extricating the trapped driver of the car.

After using saws to remove several tree limbs and shrubs, firefighters used their hydraulic tools to completely cut away the roof and both driver's side doors. The 20-year-old's legs were pinned by the mangled dashboard, so rams were used to raise the crushed metal and plastic.

The difficult extrication was complicated by the afternoon's high heat and humidity, which quickly tired firefighters.

With Ewing firefighters tied up with the extrication efforts, Prospect Heights Deputy Chief Tom Leese special-called a mutual aid engine from Lawrence Road Fire Co. at 12:59 p.m. to attend to fluids leaking from the overturned Montero.

Engine 22 responded at 1 p.m. and arrived on location at 1:03 p.m.

Engine 22 was commanded by Deputy Chief John Fleming, driven by Paid Driver Robert Santello, and crewed by Capt. Michael Byrd, Ff. R.J. Laird, Ff. Joseph Dlabik Jr., and Ff. Evan Kutzin.

Engine 22's crew patched a leak in the overturned SUV's gas tank and applied speedie dry to the roadway to absorb the spilled gas and other fluids. Engine 22's crew then reported up to the extrication scene and stood by in case they were to become needed.

Ultimately, Ewing firefighters freed the 20-year-old from the wreckage at 1:20 p.m. and he rushed by ambulance to Capital Health System at Fuld hospital in Trenton, where he was admitted in serious condition.

The other three patients suffered less serious injuries and were transported to Capital Health System at Mercer hospital in Trenton for treatment.

At 1:22 p.m. Mercer County Central Communication Center transmitted Box 21-20 and dispatched all three Lawrence Township fire companies for a motor vehicle accident with possible entrapment in front of 336 Lawrence Station Road.

Engine 22 was released from Ewingville Road by Deputy 31 and returned to Lawrence Township for the rescue call. Emergency personnel quickly discovered that there was no entrapment and no injuries on Lawrence Station Road, so all units were recalled from that assignment with the exception of Rescue 21 from Slackwood Fire Co.

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