By Jenn Bernstein
UPPER MERION (CBS) – Rescue crews freed a woman trapped in her vehicle for more than an hour after a truck carrying scrap metal overturned, spilling its load onto the car.
It’s hard to believe, but somehow the driver of a mangled 2004 Toyota Corolla made it out alive.
It is now sitting at Janeway Towing in Conshohocken, after a bad accident Wednesday morning.
Pennsylvania State Police say the Toyota driver was traveling west on 76, headed onto the ramp for Route 202 South in Upper Merion Township when, in a split second, a hunk of metal weighing roughly 750 pounds, landed on her car.
“We actually assumed for the first 30 seconds that the driver was deceased,” said Lafayette Ambulance’s Assistant Chief John Buffington, who was on the scene.
Police say a tractor trailer which was hauling scrap metal, had lost control, spilling some of its contents onto the roadway.
A large piece, which we’re told was a car engine with a transmission attached, landed on the Toyota.
Inside, police say the driver, 46-year-old Janice Storms of Lansdale, was alive.
“The engine had come through the roof and was resting essentially on the driver’s lap,” said Assistant Chief Buffington, “She was awake, she seemed to be in discomfort but not a lot of pain.”
They stabilized her and then firefighters began the complicated cutting operation.
Removing it would be a challenge and that’s when state police called Janeway Towing for assistance.
“My company is the only company with a rotator that services I-76 in Montgomery County,” said owner Jamie Dougherty, “that piece of equipment is designed similar to a crane.”
With careful precision, the piece of equipment lifted the metal off the truck.
Firefighters were then able to free Storms and rush her to Paoli Hospital.
“She’s lucky to be alive,” said Dougherty, “That cluster of ramps there from westbound to southbound and from westbound to 422 have had numerous tractor trailers overturned in that area.”
Police say the driver of the tractor trailer, 44-year-old Vernon Smith from Egg Harbor New Jersey, suffered minor injuries.
Police say the Route 202 ramp was closed for more than four hours. It reopened just before 11 a.m.
So far no charges have been filed and state police say the accident investigation is ongoing.