5 se­verely in­jured in crash, pulled from burn­ing wreck

First re­spon­ders, good Sa­mar­i­tans helped save oc­cu­pants

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By AN­DREW RICHARD­SON arichard­son@somd­news.com

Three adults and two tod­dlers were flown to the hos­pi­tal with se­vere in­juries, some life-threat­en­ing, on Fri­day night af­ter their car left the road­way and col­lided head-on with a tree, caus­ing the en­gine com­part­ment to catch fire. When of­fi­cers first ar­rived, an adult and the two tod­dlers were still trapped in the ve­hi­cle as the flames reached ap­prox­i­mately 12 feet high, ac­cord­ing to au­thor­i­ties.

The col­lec­tive ac­tions of the re­spond­ing of­fi­cers, fire­fight­ers, emer­gency med­i­cal per­son­nel, and a group of good Sa­mar­i­tans helped pre­vent fur­ther in­jury to the oc­cu­pants, sev­eral of which were pulled from the wreck­age to safety. How­ever, one woman suf­fered sec­ond- and third-de­gree burns on ap­prox­i­mately 30 per­cent of her body, po­lice said, and the driver suf­fered mul­ti­ple com­pound frac­tures to both legs.

Around 11:57 p.m. on Fri­day, deputies of the Charles County Sher­iff’s Of­fice re­sponded to the crash on St. Charles Park­way, south of North­gate Place in Wal­dorf. Pre­lim­i­nary in­ves­ti­ga­tion showed that the car had been trav­el­ing south­bound when, for rea­sons still un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion, the car left the road­way and crashed into a tree, po­lice said.

Upon ar­rival, of­fi­cers could hear oc­cu­pants screaming from in­side the ve­hi­cle as it burned, ac­cord­ing to a sher­iff’s of­fice spokesper­son. Of­fi­cers were able to im­me­di­ately re­move the two tod­dlers from the back­seat of the car and take them to safety, but a woman re­mained trapped in the front seat and was be­ing burned by the fire. Of­fi­cers be­gan com­bat­ing the flames, ex­haust­ing mul­ti­ple fire ex­tin­guish­ers as they tried to keep the fire at bay, at­tempt­ing to pre­vent the flames from reach­ing her up­per body as much as pos­si­ble, ac­cord­ing to au­thor­i­ties. Fire­fight­ers from the Wal­dorf and La Plata Vol­un­teer Fire De­part­ments ar­rived on the scene shortly af­ter, ex­tin­guished the fire and ex­tri­cated the woman from the ve­hi­cle.

The three adults, 26, 20, and 19, were taken by he­li­copter to MedS­tar Wash­ing­ton Hos­pi­tal Cen­ter with life-threat­en­ing in­juries. The two tod­dlers, ap­prox­i­mately 18 and 24 months old, were flown to Chil­dren’s Hos­pi­tal in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., and are re­ported to be in sta­ble con­di­tion.

Po­lice say a group of three men were able to pull a woman seated in the back to safety, while it is un­clear if the driver was able to es­cape on his own, or if he too was pulled from the wreck­age. They, and any­one else who may have wit­nessed the ac­ci­dent, are asked to con­tact Cpl. B. Saun­ders of the sher­iff’s of­fice traffic op­er­a­tions unit at 301-609-6225 or email saun­der­swb@ccso.us.

“These heroic ac­tions by [the Charles County Sher­iff’s Of­fice], [Wal­dorf Vol­un­teer Fire De­part­ment], La Plata VFD, [De­part­ment of Emer­gency Ser­vices] and [Mary­land State Po­lice] proved how ef­fec­tive team­work is in sav­ing lives, the Wal­dorf VFD stated in a Face­book post. “Strong work by all in­volved. Prayers to the vic­tims for a speedy re­cover y.”

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