Help From On High
Jacobi was "very reassuring," says Sue Newman. "She stayed with us a long time, telling me help was on the way. And it was."
Nicole Buck was another of the good samaritans who got there early. A graduate student in Dartmouth's Department of Earth Sciences, she, too, is a firefighter, as is her husband. Nicki Buck had heard the call come in on her pager. "Like all volunteer departments, we worry about daytime coverage," she says. "When I arrived at the station, only one guy was there. We rolled with just two of us on the engine." And with the news of an entrapment, she called Windsor Dispatch to get additional help from that town's fire department.
"When we arrived," recalls Buck, "the rain had stopped and Windsor ambulance was already there. Seeing how unstable the truck was, I called Meunier's Towing, a company we use a lot for interstate accidents, as its station is located near Exit 9." Her thought was not just that the tow truck would be needed to haul the wreck away, but that its cable could be used to stabilize the vehicle while rescuers worked to free the trapped driver. And, as chance would have it, it was a Meunier's truck that Sue Newman had seen on the overpass—now just seconds from the accident.
Meanwhile, Windsor Fire Chief Ron Vezina headed south to set up a traffic control point below the accident. He knew nothing would be rolling in the northbound lanes for a while. Soon, the Vermont State Police sent a cruiser further south, to Exit 8, where I-91 traffic was rerouted onto side roads.
For the emergency personnel who continued to arrive on the scene, the sight of the twisted guardrail and the battered truck was gut-wrenching. When they heard that the driver was pinned beneath
Jacobi saw a man pinned under the truck. "He told me he was having trouble breathing," she recalls, "and seeing the wheel pressed against his chest, I immediately started digging out the mud underneath his back."
the truck, they feared for his survival. "This particular three-mile stretch of road," Buck says, "for years was so bad that anytime it rained,my husband and I drove to the station and waited for our pagers to go off. And they almost always did."
When Windsor ambulance got there, Jacobi directed the four EMTs on board. Rich Bowman, Timothy Lang, and Kelly Young—all "intermediate technicians"—and Barbara Thomas, a "basic," headed right for Mike, muddied and partially hidden in the foot-tall grass. They got on their hands and knees and dug away