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MAY 15, 2006


Route 1 Freeway Northbound,
Lawrence Township

Lawrence Road Fire Co. volunteers were among the emergency personnel who responded to a single-vehicle accident during the early morning hours of Monday, May 15, 2006.

It was 2:45 a.m. when Slackwood Fire Co. (Station 21), Lawrence Road’s Rescue 22, and Rescue 23 from Lawrenceville Fire Co. were dispatched by Mercer County Central for a motor vehicle accident with possible entrapment along the northbound side of the Route 1 Freeway between Whitehead Road and Carnegie Road.

Also dispatched were an ambulance from Lawrence First Aid Squad and a paramedic unit from Capital Health System.

Rescue 22 responded with Capt. Michael Ratcliffe in command, Ff. Joseph Dlabik Sr. driving, and a crew that included Ff. Joseph Dlabik Jr., Ff. Ryan Dlabik, Ff. Brian Laue, Ff. Jarred Pierson and Ff. R.J. Laird.

Also responding were Chief Wayne Hannon in Car 22 and Deputy Chief Chris Pangaldi in Car 22-1.

Upon arrival, township police and firefighters found a Pontiac Grand Am facing west in the center of the northbound side of Route 1. The front end of the car was heavily damaged from striking the freeway’s concrete center divider, while both rear wheels had been sheered off.

The driver of the vehicle was nowhere to be found, but it was obvious from blood found inside the wrecked car that the driver had been injured.

Rescue 21 and Rescue 22 responded northbound on Route 1 from Whitehead Road, while Rescue 23 responded southbound on Route 1 and stopped in the left southbound lane. After it was confirmed there was no entrapment, Slackwood Chief Mike Oakley recalled Rescue 23.

The crew from Rescue 21 applied speedie dry to absorb anti-freeze spilled from the wrecked car onto the road, while Lawrence Road firefighters raised Rescue 22’s telescopic light tower to aid police officers who were searching the surrounding woods for the car’s driver.

Rescue 22’s crew then used their Holmatro Combi-Tool and portable generator to pop open the hood of the Pontiac so the car’s battery cables could be secured.

Firefighters then stood by as the search for the driver continued. A short time later, police found the driver walking near Carnegie Road.

The man was hurt, but his injuries did not appear life-threatening. He was transported by ambulance to Capital Health System at Fuld hospital in Trenton for treatment.

Firefighters then stood by until the wrecked car was towed away. Rescue 22 was back in quarters by about 3:40 a.m.

Police later charged the driver with nine traffic summonses, including driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI).

All photos copyright (c) 2006 by Michael Ratcliffe.

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