5 severely injured in crash, pulled from burning wreck
First responders, good Samaritans helped save occupants
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 email@example.com.
“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.”