WINDHAM — A woman was critically injured and traffic tied up for hours on Interstate 93 south last night after a single-car accident.
Witnesses told police the car was moving erratically before the accident.
The accident, which occurred just over the Derry-Windham line between Exits 4 and 3, took place at 6:30 p.m.
It briefly closed both southbound lanes of the highway and still had traffic reduced to a crawl more than three hours later.
New Hampshire State Police Sgt. Lawrence Bolduc said all three occupants of the Chevy Cobalt were ejected, with a woman landing in the middle of the highway. She was taken to Parkland Medical Center and transferred by medical helicopter to Boston Medical Center.
The driver of the car was Gregory Sallah, 46, of Manchester, N.H.
His passengers were Aaron Nouncy, 38, and Amanda Johnson, 22, also both of Manchester, N.H.
The State Police Technical Accident Reconstruction Team was called in and spent hours at the scene, working well into the night under a crescent moon and in the glow of pulsing lights from a line of emergency vehicles.
Windham fire Chief Thomas McPherson said the two men in the vehicle sustained serious injuries.
Bolduc said witnesses reported the car was being operated erratically before the crash, traveling in the high-speed lane.
"At some point, the operator pulled the wheel to the right and lost control of the vehicle and crashed into the embankment," Bolduc said at the scene last night. The car, with New Hampshire license plates, rested in a ditch on the north side of the road near mile marker 9.
Bolduc said it was too soon to say whether any of the occupants were wearing seatbelts and who was driving the car at the time of the crash.
McPherson said the fire department responded to the accident at about 6:30 p.m.
"Reports while we were responding were that we had at least three patients, all had been ejected from the car and one person was in the road," McPherson said.
He said first-responders found Johnson in the middle of the highway, being tended to by bystanders.
He said her injuries were life-threatening.
"She had severe head injuries and multiple fractures, from what we can tell," he said.
A Dartmouth-Hitchcock Advanced Response Team helicopter was called to land on the highway and transport the woman to Boston, McPherson said. But the helicopter was diverted to Parkland Medical Center.
"Due to (the helicopter's) time constraint on getting there, and due to the patient's condition, we felt it necessary to get her to Parkland," he said, "and then she was airlifted from there."
Her condition was unavailable this morning.
McPherson said the two men were found next to the car, both with injuries he described as serious, but not life-threatening. One patient was taken to Parkland, the other to Elliot Hospital in Manchester.
Traffic was backed up for miles hours after the crash. Just one lane was open along the stretch of highway where state police investigated the scene.
"Traffic is a nightmare," McPherson said last night.
Bolduc said both southbound lanes were closed while medical personnel tended to the injured. Once they cleared the scene, the high-speed southbound lane was reopened, but travel was very slow.
The accident reconstruction team is called in whenever there is serious injury, Bolduc said.
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