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NOVEMBER 7, 2005


Route 206 and Princeton Avenue
(Harneys Corner), Lawrence Township

Lawrence Road Fire Co. volunteers helped extricate a paramedic who was trapped after her vehicle was involved in a four-vehicle collision on Monday, November 7, 2005.

The accident at the intersection of Lawrence Road (Route 206) and Princeton Avenue, commonly known as Harneys Corner, occurred at about 10:35 a.m.

According to police, Capital Health System paramedic unit 795 – a 2004 Ford Expedition sport utility driven by a 43-year-old paramedic – was going northbound on Princeton Avenue.

The paramedic unit was enroute to an emergency call and had its siren and red warning lights on as it approached the intersection, police said.

Police said the paramedic unit stopped for a red light and then proceeded into the intersection. As it did so, the paramedic vehicle’s front end was hit by a 1999 Dodge Ram 1500 pickup truck being driven southbound on Lawrence Road by a 53-year-old man, police said.

Two other cars (a 1999 Toyota Camry and a 1990 Chevrolet Geo) that had stopped and yielded to the paramedic unit were then hit by the pickup truck, police said.

Lawrence Road Fire Co. Rescue Capt. Andrew Fosina came upon the accident just moments after it occurred.

He stopped to check on injuries and found that both the paramedic unit’s driver and her partner (a 37-year-old paramedic) were injured. He also found that the 37-year-old was trapped in the front passenger’s seat of the paramedic unit and that the 40-year-old female driver of the Toyota Camry was also hurt and trapped.

Fosina radioed Mercer County Central Communications Center and reported that he had three people injured, two of whom were trapped. He requested that a full rescue assignment to be dispatched to Harneys Corner.

Just moments earlier, at 10:36 a.m., all three Lawrence Township fire companies – Slackwood (Station 21), Lawrence Road (Station 22), and Lawrenceville (Station 23) – and Hamilton Township’s Mercerville Fire Co. (Station 12) were dispatched to a reported smoke condition at 32 O’Neill Court in the Lawrence Square Village complex.

With most Lawrence Township firefighters already enroute to the smoke condition in the opposite end of Lawrence Township, Mercer County Central dispatched Squirt 31 and Rescue 32 from Ewing Township’s Prospect Heights (Station 31) and Pennington Road (Station 32) fire companies to Harneys Corner.

Ambulances from Ewing, Hamilton and Pennington Borough were also dispatched, along with additional Capital Health paramedic units.

Fortunately, the first-arriving units from Station 23 and Station 12 confirmed that the smoke condition on O’Neill Court had been caused by careless cooking and that there was no fire. Thus, responding Lawrence Township apparatus – including Lawrence Road’s Rescue 22 – was diverted to Harneys Corner.

Rescue 22 was commanded by Deputy Chief John Fleming, driven by Capt. Michael Ratcliffe, and crewed by Capt. Michael Byrd, Lt. Edward Kitchen, and Ff. Brian Laue.

Snorkel 21 and Squirt 31 arrived at the accident first, closely followed by Rescue 22 and then Rescue 32. Utility 23, Engine 21 and Engine 21-1 arrived later.

While Squirt 31’s crew stood by with a charged 1.75-inch hoseline, Snorkel 21’s crew worked on stabilizing the wrecked vehicles and containing spilled fluids.

Meanwhile, the crew from Rescue 22 performed a door removal to extricate the trapped paramedic, while Rescue 32 performed a door pop to free the trapped woman from the Toyota.

Both patients were extricated by 10:59 a.m. They and the paramedic unit’s driver were all rushed to Capital Health System at Fuld hospital. None of their injuries was life-threatening, police said.

Rescue 22’s crew later used their Holmatro tools to pop open the rear hatch of the damaged paramedic unit so authorities could secure the unit’s drug boxes.

A paramedic trainee who had been riding in the back seat of the paramedic unit was not injured in the crash, police said. The Chevrolet Geo’s driver, a 30-year-old man, and his passenger, a 34-year-old woman, were also not hurt, according to police.

The pickup truck’s driver (who was also not hurt) was issued a traffic summons for careless driving, police said.

The intersection remained closed to traffic until the afternoon.

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