West Leb woman dragged beneath tractor trailer in White River Junction
Victim screamed for help for over a hundred feet until truck stopped
WHITE RIVER JUNCTION - A freelance photographer was snagged and pulled underneath an 18-wheeler packed with barking "rescue dogs" Saturday night as it turned from North Main Street into the parking lot of the Bugbee Senior Center, dragging her over a hundred feet in front of nearly two dozen horrified onlookers as she screamed for help.
Miraculously, Robyn Farwell of West Lebanon emerged largely unscathed from between the wheels of the giant trailer and after her ordeal she ended up being transported to the hospital largely as a precaution, Hartford Police said.
"Somehow she didn't get run over by a tire, but I don't know how that didn't happen," Officer Fred Peyton said, shaking his head as he looked at the curving path the truck had driven clear around the edge of the lot with Farwell underneath it.
Hartford Police Officer Eric Clifford looks over the tractor trailer where it came to a stop.
The 7:40 p.m. incident occurred right at the beginning of what is a regular drop-off of rescued dogs that are transported up to New England each week in the large truck run by Peterson Express Transport Services (P.E.T.S) that collects dozens of formerly stray or abandoned animals from across the Carolinas and delivers them to new owners who have arranged to adopt them.
Hartford Police officers said the driver, who was distraught and crying at the scene, did not see Farwell at any point as he made the turn off the street and then drove several truck-lengths to the back of the parking lot before coming to a stop.
Witnesses said Farwell, who has long taken pictures for local humane societies and shelters, appeared to be caught by something on the truck just as it entered the lot and was being dragged along the outside edge of the trailer across the slick snow-covered pavement for a few moments before she was abruptly sucked clear beneath the trailer and was "hung up" on a box-like structure protruding down between some of the axles.
A registered nurse was among those waiting for the dogs. Police said she immediately examined Farwell after the truck stopped and determined that Farwell had not actually been run over by any of the wheels and was essentially unhurt.
"Witnesses are saying they pulled her out from underneath the tractor trailer," noted Officer Eric Clifford.
Others had already called 911 and both the Hartford fire and police departments rushed to the scene.
Officer Peyton said that the driver did not appear to have done anything improper and that there did not appear to be any negligence or misconduct so neither criminal charges nor tickets were being considered at the scene, although the investigation was still officially on-going.
"I haven't had a chance to talk to her and get her side of the story yet," Officer Peyton said at the scene but he noted he was going next to the hospital to check on Farwell and discuss the incident with her.
"So far it appears it's just an accident," Officer Peyton said, adding, "(The driver) has got 27 dogs on the truck tonight and all these poor kids are here to pick up their dog for Christmas and they see something like this."
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