BA student critical after Thursday wreck

Published 5:00 am Friday, September 11, 2009

When machine power failed, human power took over Thursday nightin an effort to free a Brookhaven Academy sophomore trapped in hervehicle after an accident on Highway 583.

Callie Cole, 16, of Enterprise Road, was in critical conditionFriday morning at the University of Mississippi Medical Center inJackson, where she was airlifted to after her 2008 Chevrolet Malibucollided with some heavy equipment on the side of the highwayaround 8:30 p.m. Thursday, officials said.

Mississippi Highway Patrol Troop M Public Affairs Officer Sgt.Rusty Boyd said Cole was southbound and ran off the right side offthe roadway, overcorrected and lost control. He said the driver’sside of her vehicle struck a piece of equipment that was parked forthe night.

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It was the effort of some firefighters that was able to free herfrom the vehicle when the Brookhaven Fire Department’s Jaws of Lifemalfunctioned.

“What happened is that we had cut the back door latch and (theJaws operator) thought he had cut it all the way in two and themachine died,” said Ruth Volunteer Firefighter Randy Boyd.

Boyd and three Brookhaven firefighters who had responded withthe Jaws of Life were able to get the door open far enough to getCole out of the vehicle and into the ambulance. She was transportedto King’s Daughters Medical Center, and airlifted to UMC fromthere.

“It was just the way it was cramped right there was the mainreason we could do it, it was bent right there at the front of thedoor,” Boyd said about being able to free the driver.

But there were other good Samaritans on scene as well, Ruth VFDChief Teresa Lawrence said. An area resident also brought hispersonal equipment out to put the car in a position where therescue could take place.

“The driver’s side of the door was up against the machinery andthey couldn’t get to her,” she said. “So a man got a tractor withthe hay frocks, and pushed the car away from the machinery so theycould get to her.”

Boyd said he and the BFD firefighters were just doing theirjob.

“We had that adrenaline going and we all just got a hold of itand pushed it, and it rolled right back,” he said.

Brookhaven Fire Chief Tony Weeks said the Jaws of Life will besent for repair, and that they’re tested every morning and crankedup just fine on Thursday morning. They had malfunctionedpreviously, but Weeks said repairs had been made since then.

The Jaws of Life in question, which run out of Station Two, area secondhand set given to the city by Heuck’s Retreat VolunteerFire Department when a set owned by the city went down.

There is another set of Jaws that are functional at StationThree, and Weeks said Station Three will respond to all the Jawscalls in the county until the other set is repaired.