McGregor Memorial EMS in the News
Woman hurt in Lee crash
By THOMAS R. KRESSLER
In Foster's Online
Friday, May 26, 2006
LEE - A Bedford woman was seriously injured in a crash on Route 155 Thursday, when a rental car she was driving sailed off the road and crashed into a tree.
Police say Enterprise employee Joanne L. Baravella, 65, was traveling north on Route 155 in a 2005 Buick Lacrosse owned by the company when she lost control of the vehicle and drifted onto property owned by DeMeritt Hill Farm.
Lee Police Chief Chet Murch said it did not appear that Baravella attempted to stop before hitting the tree. After striking the tree head on, the car spun around and came to a rest in a wet and muddy portion of the property facing the road. The front driver's side of the vehicle was crushed inward.
Another Enterprise employee was following Baravella at the time, but did not witness the crash. Murch said the woman noticed the damaged vehicle when she came around the bend, but thought it may have been a prop used to deter students from drunken driving.
Patty Hunt and her husband, Richard, who rent property on DeMeritt Hill Farm, heard a loud crash when the car hit the tree on their side lawn, and called 911.
Having recently completed surgical technician school, Patty Hunt rushed down to the vehicle and used a towel to wrap up Baravella's badly damaged leg.
"She was conscious most of the time. I just kept talking to her - because that's scary," Hunt said.
Police and Fire and Rescue personnel from Lee and Durham, along with Madbury police, responded to the scene of the accident at around 11:20 a.m.
Dozens of rescue personnel from both towns used extrication tools to remove the roof and two driver's side doors of the Buick. Baravella remained conscious but in visible pain as workers labored all around her, removing pieces of the vehicle to clear space for her safe removal.
A firefighter cut out the steering wheel, which had a deployed airbag attached, and tossed it several feet from the vehicle into a mud puddle.
Following the extrication, Baravella was placed on a stretcher and transported to Wentworth-Douglass Hospital. She remained at the hospital in stable condition as of Thursday evening.
Baravella could not recall what caused the car to go off the road when interviewed by police at the scene. "She was in a lot of pain," Murch said.
The accident shut down both lanes of a quarter-mile stretch of Route 155, also referred to as Lee Road, for about 45 minutes, Murch said. The vehicle, which was destroyed, was towed away from the scene.
Murch said it appeared Baravella was wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash, and speed and alcohol were not factors. The accident remains under investigation.