3 Injured in I-91 Crash
Michael Pineault, 63, a retired firefighter from Connecticut, picks up pieces of paper that blew out of his truck after it rolled over several times on Interstate 91 in Ascutney, Vt., on Saturday, May 10, 2014. Pineault was a passenger in the back seat at the time of the crash. He was treated at the scene for a minor cut. The driver and front-seat passenger were transported to area hospitals. (Valley News - Maggie Cassidy) Purchase photo reprints »
Firefighters examine a Ford F-150 that rolled over several times on Interstate 91 northbound in Ascutney, Vt., on Saturday, May 10, 2014. Three people were injured. (Valley News - Maggie Cassidy) Purchase photo reprints »
Ascutney — Three people were injured following a one-vehicle rollover accident that left part of Interstate 91 shut down for several hours Saturday afternoon.
Robert Hagen, 70, of Colchester, Conn., who was sitting in the front passenger seat of the red Ford F-150 pickup truck at the time of the crash, suffered head and body lacerations and was transported to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center by the DHART helicopter, state police said in a news release. Hospital officials said Hagen was not on the list of patients about whom they were authorized to release information on Saturday night.
The driver of the vehicle, Ronald Moroch, 72, also of Colchester, also suffered cuts to his head and body. Moroch was transported by ambulance to Valley Regional Hospital, police said. His condition was not available Saturday.
The owner of the truck, Michael Pineault, 63, of Colchester, was riding in the back seat of the extended-cab pickup truck at the time of the crash. He suffered minor injuries and was treated at the scene.
Ascutney fire and ambulance units responded at about 1:15 p.m. to a report of a motor vehicle rollover with entrapment in the northbound lanes of I-91, less than a mile south of Exit 8.
Hagen and Moroch were initially trapped in the vehicle, which rolled over several times and was leaking fluids. First responders used extraction tools to get them out.
In a news release, state police said Moroch was traveling north when he lost control of the vehicle and swerved onto the grassy median.
“He steered the truck back onto the pavement but the truck continued to ‘fishtail,’ ” police said in the release. “The truck rolled over several times (in) the middle of the northbound side and then landed on its wheels. The truck was facing east and blocking the travel lane.”
Police said the cause of the crash is under investigation. Speed and alcohol were not factors, they said.
Pineault, a retired firefighter trained as a medic, said at the scene that he was traveling with friends to Maine for a four-day fishing trip when the crash occurred. Another pickup truck carrying three additional passengers on the trip and towing a boat was traveling in front of them, he said.
Pineault said he climbed out a window of the truck and began providing first aid to Hagen through a blown-out window immediately after the crash. Pineault said Hagen had suffered the most “severe” injuries, but that he was conscious and talking at the scene.
“Calm in the chaos, that’s our job,” Pineault said, a bandage on his forehead above his right eye, referring to his 35 years as a firefighter. “A day in the life — unfortunately, a day in our life.”
Pineault said all three passengers were wearing seatbelts and that he had to cut them off of his friends.
Pineault said he was reading a newspaper in the back seat when the crash occurred and was not sure what had caused Moroch to lose control.
Traffic was backed up as far as the eye could see, but was reopened to one lane around 2:30 p.m. Passersby rolled down their windows as temperatures neared 80 degrees, many staring in awe at the wreck and some using smartphones to take pictures as their cars rolled slowly by. Various camping items that the men had packed for the trip were strewn about the highway.
The northbound lanes of the interstate were shut down again at Exit 7 at about 2:45 p.m. to allow Agency of Transportation officials access to the scene of the crash. Units from the Springfield, Vt., fire department diverted traffic onto Route 5.
An earlier version of this report was posted on www.vnews.com on Saturday afternoon. Valley News staff writer Ernie Kohlsaat contributed to this report. Maggie Cassidy can be reached at email@example.com or 603-727-3220.