PHOTOS: Two-hour rescue effort for 5-year-old trapped in 3-car crash next to Lebanon High School

Submitted a year ago
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Eric Francis

Firefighters and EMTs perform complicated extrication

LEBANON - Firefighters from Lebanon and Hanover carefully cut, pried, sawed and spread apart a small car for nearly two hours Monday afternoon in order to free a five-year-old local boy whose foot was caught within the wreckage of a three-car collision.

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    The 4 p.m. crash at the intersection of Heater and Old Etna Roads, which sits right on the northwest corner of the Lebanon High School property, began when a red Jeep Cherokee traveling west on Heater Road entered the intersection and T-boned a small blue Ford Focus which had been heading south on Old Etna and was in the process of turning east onto Heater Road.

    "The red Jeep allegedly ran the stop sign," Lebanon Police Sgt. Jeff Perkins said at the scene, noting that he expected to file charges against the woman who was driving it.

    The impact sent the Ford spinning off to a corner of the intersection while the Jeep continued straight through and into the front end of a silver Nissan that had been stopped at the western edge of the intersection.

    "The driver of the red Jeep was complaining of some neck and back pain but refused ambulance services," the sergeant said, adding "The driver of the silver car that was hit went up to the hospital herself to be checked out."

    Jessie Watson, the driver of the blue Ford, hit her head hard enough to sustain a concussion that required her to be immediately transported to the nearly hospital while her sister, who'd been sitting in the passenger seat next to Jesse but who was not injured, ran to the family home which was within sight of the intersection and summoned the boy's father, Dusty Watson, who stayed at the scene for the next hour-and-45-minutes as over a dozen rescuers worked to free his son Jacob from the back seat.

    "It was definitely disturbing to watch.  I would not wish that on anyone," Dusty Watson said from the Emergency Room at the Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center later Monday evening, adding that "All of the paramedics and doctors worked to make a horrible situation the best that it could be."

    A nurse stayed with Watson throughout the rescue effort, despite conditions that plunged from sunny and warm clear down to frigid as gray skies rolled in over Lebanon.   Watson, who moved to Lebanon from Indiana a couple of years ago and who works at Dartmouth Printing, shivered at the scene until neighbors brought him out snow boots and blankets from their homes to keep him warm.    

    An emergency room doctor also traveled down to the scene from DHMC and took charge of sedating the boy who was in considerable pain as crews worked to gingerly dislodge his leg and bandage it before lifting him out onto a gurney and rushing him to a waiting ambulance that had the heat "cranked up" for him.

    "They've got him stable and he's in surgery right now," Watson said late Monday evening.  

    Watson said that his wife Jessie had sustained "a really bad concussion.  She can't remember two sentences ago," let alone the crash, he explained although he said doctors did expect her to be able to go home on Tuesday and to recover over time.  "This is just the beginning of a long road back," Watson said.

The intersection is on the northwest corner of the Lebanon High School playing fields


Firefighters used a hydraulic ram tool to lift the roof above the boy

Dusty Watson, covered in a white blanket, watches the intricate efforts to treat his son during the extrication process

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