It was still dark outside so Garry raised the light-tower to light up the scene and prepare other equipment while Larry checked on the person trapped inside the truck and decided what equipment would be needed to free her. The girl trapped in the passenger side could only speak Spanish and her boyfriend, the driver who was walking around uninjured, did not speak enough English to be of much assistance. Larry asked her "¿Donde duele?" (Where do you hurt) and she replied, "¡Piernes!" (Her legs). A witness stated that the pickup was traveling in the West Bound lane, crossed the median (this is before median dividers were installed) hitting head-on into a Tractor-Trailer heading East Bound. The impact had caused the right-front of the pickup and it's dash to crush into the girl's legs. The first assessment showed that several tools and some delicate work would be required.
Garry had prepared the power to run the "Jaws of Life" and other equipment as Larry pulled the Jaws and hydraulic cutters into position for use. Other members began arriving and were assigned various jobs. Matt Scroggs assisted Larry with heading up the extrication duties, and Mike Soule began the first medical care.
The passenger door was opened using the Jaws and was then torn farther off it's hinges so we could have more room to access her legs. The next step we needed to do was to remove the roof, which had been crushed down close to her head. The posts holding the driver's side of the roof had been sheared during the initial impact so we only need to do a few cuts on the passenger side with the hydraulic cutters to totally remove the roof.
Squad 6 (American LaFrance) First extrication
This apparatus was from a conversion of our 1976 ALF pumper chassis, changed to a Hackney rescue body. That ALF chassis was later retired and the Hackney box remounted on a KME chassis.
Next step was to solve the problem of removing the mangled metal and dash from her legs. The term is known as a "Dash roll-up". A "relief cut" was made in the bottom-front of the driver's door opening with a reciprocating saw which acts as a hinge when the dash is moved up and forward. When the hydraulic ram was used to push the dash up, it begin tearing through the thin metal and would not move enough of the dash to make any progress. It was quickly decided to switch tactics. A plan from Matt & Larry evolved into using the Jaws on their side, placing them on the hump in between the seats, with the tips as far up under the dash as possible and attempt to utilize their spreading capabilities. It required close monitoring by others of the girl's legs to assure that our movements, while raising the dash, did not create any other problems. As the Jaws were spread open, the dash began to raise up and forward a considerable amount away from her legs. The only area trapped now were her feet which were freed by some detailed hand tool work. She was then able to be removed and transported to the hospital. She was later released from the hospital without complications.
The call came in a few minutes before 7am. A report of a vehicle accident on I-40 somewhere around Exit 59. Garry Bartlett responded the Squad with Larry Pierson in the Officer's seat. After crossing the I-40 bridge, the vehicle could be seen less than a 1/4 mile East of the Exit in the East Bound lane. As Garry approached the scene it was obvious that there was a person trapped in the wreckage so he advised the dispatcher of an ST, even before the Squad came to a stop.