SALEM — Plenty of car crashes occur on Interstate 93 during a snowstorm, but none quite like this.
An accident that took place just over the Salem line Tuesday morning is receiving worldwide attention. Video and photos of the crash taken by Eagle-Tribune photographer Tim Jean circulate in print and online.
A 41-year-old Derry woman experienced a close call about 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, when her car slid off the highway and down a slight embankment. Instead of coming to a stop at the bottom of the 8-foot embankment or overturning, the car rose into the air and its front-end became stuck in 3 feet of snow.
Salem firefighter Dennis Galvin, one of nine rescuers to rush to the driver's aid, said yesterday he and his colleagues had never seen anything like it.
"I've had cars on their side and I've had cars upside down, but never anything like this," the six-year firefighter said.
The rescue team knew it was responding to a rollover, but had no idea the car was buried, standing on its front-end.
As they approached the accident, Galvin said he couldn't believe what he saw.
"I said to myself, 'I really hope there is no one in there,'" Galvin said.
The other firefighters, some with many years of experience, were stunned, too, he said.
"No one has ever seen a car like that," Galvin said.
The driver was OK. She complained of shoulder pain because of her seat belt and her knees were sore from striking the dashboard, Galvin said.
"If anything, she was just kind of scared and shaken up," he said. "If not for her seat belt, I don't know what would have happened."
The crew rushed to prevent the car from tipping over, securing it with struts and a cable winch. About 15 minutes after their arrival, the firefighters were able to pop open the door — about 6 feet off the ground — and get the woman out.
The woman, whose name was not released, was taken to Parkland Medical Center and released a few hours later, Galvin said.
It was fortuitous and amazing the car didn't flip over, he said.
"It just came to a rest," he said, "it was amazing."
Jean said he had never photographed a crash like this one.
"I was pretty surprised; I just couldn't believe it," the 11-year photographer said. "I snapped a few photos quickly because I thought it was going to fall."
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