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2 Survive Crash, Driver Charged With DWI

Canaan — Two men are lucky to be alive after one of them was thrown from a pick-up truck that rolled multiple times on Route 118 Thursday night in a drunken driving accident, the Canaan Polic Department said.

Russell Christian, 40, of Canaan, was driving north when he lost control of a Dodge Ram pick-up truck. The vehicle skidded 400 feet, went off the road, rolled three or four times, and slammed into a phone pole with enough force to leave it in three pieces, Canaan Police Chief Sam Frank said.

Passenger Steven Cotting, 32, of Orange, went through the windshield and landed in the woods 20 feet away. Christian ended up in the backseat of the vehicle, Frank said.

“It’s amazing, I don’t get it. By all rights, they should be dead,” Frank said in an interview. “I don’t know how to explain it. I’m amazed they are still alive.”

The accident occurred at 10:30 p.m., roughly one mile south of the Dorchester town line. There is no cell phone service in the area and some stretches are sparsely populated.

However, the accident occurred close to a home and police said the homeowners heard the commotion and called 911.

“If they hadn’t heard it, they could have been out there a while and bled out,” Frank said in an interview. “They were lucky somebody was there, that’s all I can say.”

Christian was airlifted to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center via a DHART helicopter. Cotting was taken to DHMC in an ambulance.

Cotting was in fair condition yesterday afternoon and Christian’s condition was not available, DHMC spokesman Rick Adams said.

Frank said both men were expected to survive. Police said that speed and alcohol were both factors.

Christian will face a DWI charge, Frank said, and other charges are possible as the investigation continues.

Neither man was wearing a seat belt.

Anyone with information regarding the crash is urged to call police at 603-523-7400.

Mark Davis can be reached at or 603-727-3304.