Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

October 1, 2013

Princeton woman survives apparent medical emergency and wreck

By BILL ARCHER
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

BLUEWELL — A Mercer County woman survived a medical emergency and going airborne in her vehicle several times before crashing at the intersection of Route 20 and Tabor Road Monday afternoon.

The 74-year-old female whose name was not released by law enforcement officers, was traveling south on Route 20, and was about a quarter-mile past the Maple Acres Road intersection when she crossed the center lane into the path of Lt. J.E. Parks of the Mercer County Sheriff’s Department who was driving north on Route 20, according to Mercer County Sheriff’s Deputy J.D. Gills.

“I was already chasing her and turned my lights and siren on after we passed Grants,” Gills said. “At that next turn, she drifted across the road in front of Lt. Parks. He ran off the road into a yard to get out of her way.”

Gills said that he continued his pursuit for about three more miles. “She kept speeding up and slowing down and weaving across both lanes of the road — narrowly missing head-on collisions with several vehicles,” Gills said. “She finally drifted into a ditch on the right of the road and started up an embankment.”

Gills said that when it appeared that the female’s vehicle — a 2005 Honda Element — was going to roll over, she struck a bush. “Instead of rolling her over, it straightened the vehicle out and sent it airborne — straight up in the air.” Gills said the vehicle landed on all four wheels, striking a culvert at the side of a private driveway.

“That sent her airborne again for the second time,” he said. “When she landed the second time, she ran into another bush and went airborne for the third time. When she came down that time, she hit the culvert beside Tabor Road and landed on her wheels.” Gills said that the distance between where she first left the road and where she stopped was 309 feet.

Gills said that he could see into the Element through the back glass and was able to observe that the female was not in the driver’s seat after she hit the first bush that sent her in the air. “She wasn’t wearing a seat belt,” he said. “I never saw her behind the wheel again after she hit that first bush. When I got to the vehicle, she was wedged between the seats and the dash.

“At first she was unresponsive,” Gills said. “I told the paramedics that responded that I found some materials that may indicate she is diabetic.” Gills said that paramedics checked her blood-sugar levels and determined that the reading was extremely low.

Paramedics with the Bluefield Rescue Squad responded to the crash scene, stabilized the patient and extracted her from the vehicle with the assistance of emergency responders from the Bluewell Volunteer Fire Department and the Green Valley-Glenwood Fire Department. The rescue squad transported the victim to Bluefield Regional Medical Center.

Gills said he did not know the victim’s condition Monday evening.

— Contact Bill Archer at barcher@bdtonline.com