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Motorist Critically Injured In Route 10 Crash in Lyme

  • Hanover and Lyme emergency crews work to revive the driver of a car that left Route 10 and rolled into Post Pond in Lyme, N.H. Wednesday September 25, 2013. The driver was the only occupant of the car and was taken to Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center.<br/>Valley News - James M. Patterson<br/>jpatterson@vnews.com<br/>photo@vnews.com

    Hanover and Lyme emergency crews work to revive the driver of a car that left Route 10 and rolled into Post Pond in Lyme, N.H. Wednesday September 25, 2013. The driver was the only occupant of the car and was taken to Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center.
    Valley News - James M. Patterson
    jpatterson@vnews.com
    photo@vnews.com Purchase photo reprints »

  • Lyme Police Chief Shaun O'Keefe examines the scene of a single car accident on Post Pond in Lyme, N.H. Wednesday, September 25, 2013. The driver, and only occupant, of the car was given CPR and taken to Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center. <br/>Valley News - James M. Patterson<br/>jpatterson@vnews.com<br/>photo@vnews.com

    Lyme Police Chief Shaun O'Keefe examines the scene of a single car accident on Post Pond in Lyme, N.H. Wednesday, September 25, 2013. The driver, and only occupant, of the car was given CPR and taken to Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center.
    Valley News - James M. Patterson
    jpatterson@vnews.com
    photo@vnews.com Purchase photo reprints »

  • Hanover and Lyme emergency crews work to revive the driver of a car that left Route 10 and rolled into Post Pond in Lyme, N.H. Wednesday September 25, 2013. The driver was the only occupant of the car and was taken to Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center.<br/>Valley News - James M. Patterson<br/>jpatterson@vnews.com<br/>photo@vnews.com
  • Lyme Police Chief Shaun O'Keefe examines the scene of a single car accident on Post Pond in Lyme, N.H. Wednesday, September 25, 2013. The driver, and only occupant, of the car was given CPR and taken to Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center. <br/>Valley News - James M. Patterson<br/>jpatterson@vnews.com<br/>photo@vnews.com

A driver was pulled unresponsive from a vehicle that skidded off Route 10 and flipped over into Post Pond yesterday morning, authorities said.

The man, whom authorities believe is from Massachusetts, was taken to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center after nearby residents sped in a boat from across the pond to pull him out of the car, authorities said.

He was in intensive care late Wednesday, Lyme Police Chief Shaun O’Keefe said. Authorities declined to release the man’s name, saying his family had not yet been notified. Witnesses said the man appeared to be middle-aged.

Police said that around 10: 45 a.m., the driver was traveling south on Route 10 when he appeared to lose control and plunged into about five feet of water in the pond near the road. The vehicle apparently drifted onto the shoulder of the southbound lane, corrected back onto the pavement, and skidded again off the road and flipped as it hit the water, O’Keefe said.

The man was wearing a seatbelt and was submerged when rescuers pulled him from his vehicle, a dark, four-door sedan. Authorities and witnesses said he was submerged for three to five minutes, and did not regain consciousness while at the scene.

It was unclear why the vehicle left the road. An accident reconstruction team from the New Hampshire State Police was en route to Lyme Wednesday, O’Keefe said. Officials believe that no other vehicles were involved.

The three rescuers — the two men who boated across the pond and a passing driver who pulled over and helped — got the man out his car well before police and firefighters could make it to the scene.

“The three bystanders did what they could,” O’Keefe said.

Traffic on the stretch of Route 10, a few miles north of the Lyme green, was limited to a single lane for a few hours after the incident. Initial reports suggested there were two victims, but the man was alone in the vehicle.

The two Good Samaritans who boated across the pond were uniquely qualified to help: one was a medical student who arrived in the Upper Valley only a few days ago to begin working in emergency medicine, and the other was a carpenter who just happened to have in his pocket the tool needed to free the man from his car.

Jon Chamberlain and his wife, Patricia Reynolds, were enjoying a quiet morning at their Post Pond Lane home, which overlooks the water. Their niece’s boyfriend, Ben Blackwood, a medical student who arrived on Sunday for a four week rotation in the ER at DHMC, was resting at the dock below when the morning calm was disrupted by a strange noise across the pond.

“I heard a screech and splash and looked up and saw a car upside down,” Reynolds said.

The two men ran to Chamberlain’s 13-foot Boston Whaler, gunned the motor and made it across the pond in three minutes, Chamberlain said.

Once at the vehicle, Blackwood hopped into the water, reached through the open driver’s side door, and tried to free the man. But he was strapped into his seat, and under water.

Blackwood asked Chamberlain if he had something that could cut the seat belt.

Chamberlain reached into his pants pocket, and pulled out a utility knife that he had on him from working earlier. Blackwood slashed through the belt, and with Chamberlain and help from a passing motorist who stopped at the scene, dragged the man out of the car. Emergency reponders soon arrived and began performing life-saving measures.

“It didn’t look good,” Chamberlain said. “Ben did what he could.”

Blackwood couldn’t be reached for comment yesterday — he was working at DHMC.

Mark Davis can be reached at mcdavis@vnews.com.

Related

Accident Victim From Massachusetts

Friday, September 27, 2013

Lyme — A Massachusetts man who was severely injured when his vehicle skidded off Route 10 and overturned in Post Pond on Wednesday remained hospitalized at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, police said. Lyme Police Chief Shaun O’Keefe on Thursday identified the driver as 58-year-old Gerald Pare and said he was at DHMC. While a Massachusetts resident, Pare had recently been staying …