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It was no April Fool’s joke when firefighters with Grissettown-Longwood Fire Department were called to the scene of an “unusual” wreck last Friday morning, April 1.
Though they’ve practiced rescues using a similar scenario with one vehicle on top of another, they can’t recall exactly when they’ve actually had to use it.
That all changed around 8:30 a.m. Friday when a southbound pickup truck slammed into a Dodge Caravan as the minivan made a “quick” righthand turn into Jim’s Car Care, 6286 Ocean Hwy. W., about three miles south of Shallotte.
State troopers at the scene said the force of the collision caused the van to roll over on its side, and the pickup ended up on top of it.
The driver of a middle vehicle traveling behind the van had braked and then swerved left to avoid hitting the van as it turned. The driver of the pickup then went right to avoid the middle vehicle and ended up striking the van as it turned into the driveway.
A rescue team with Grissettown-Longwood Fire Department worked to extricate the driver of the van, Gina Whitt, who was transported to Brunswick Community Hospital.
N.C. State Trooper David Adams said there were no serious injuries.
The only unusual thing about the wreck, he said, “was the way the vehicles ended up.”
Grissettown-Long Fire Chief Tal Grissett said the fire department cut the windshield to rescue Whitt.
He deemed it a unique situation and “challenging for the wrecker drivers,” as crews worked to separate and remove the vehicles from the scene Friday morning.
Assistant Chief Richard Teague Sr. said the department trains for this type of thing all the time. They’d also been told chances were slim they’d ever have to use it.
Grissett recalled the department once had a very similar training scenario at the fire station on Longwood Road. He later found the photo to prove it and sent it to the Beacon.
The driver of the truck, Jesus Ramirez, 46, of Ash, was charged with failure to reduce speed.
Adams said if the truck had maintained its position in the southbound lane, there probably wouldn’t have been a collision.
“The whole issue is following too close and not paying attention to what you’re doing,” he said.
Adams said it’s an example of dangers posed at turnoffs off the busy highway that have no turn lanes.
Newer businesses are required to have them, but there are still hazards for older businesses, he said.
“You have to be careful when you’re in that right lane,” Adams said.
Laura Lewis is a staff writer at the Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.