Accidents bring out all squads

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Responders had to deal with accidents in Laurel Fork and Interstate 77 at the same time.

By Christopher Brooke, Reporter


HILLSVILLE — All Carroll rescue squads, along with a large contingent of fire and police personnel, responded to two simultaneous emergencies in Laurel Fork and on Interstate 77 in the late afternoon Sunday.
After a head-on collision on U.S. 58 in front of Rhudy’s Restaurant caused reports of five people injured, emergency personnel also had to respond to a crash caused by a wrong-way driver on Interstate 77 north of Exit 14.
The first accident occurred at about 4:20 p.m. on U.S. 58, east of the intersection with Virginia 677, according to a Virginia State Police report.
A 16-year-old male driver from Wytheville, driving a 2009 Nissan Versa, crossed the centerline and struck a 2005 Ford F-150 head-on, according to the police report. The pickup was driven by Annisa B. Keith of Laurel Fork.
The investigating trooper charged the juvenile with reckless driving.
Family members had picked up a person at a nursing home and were headed back to Wytheville at the time of the incident.
Authorities say that one unbelted passenger who was thrown forward into the windshield is in critical condition as of early Monday afternoon.
Laurel Fork fire and rescue, Cana Rescue Squad and Carroll Fire Rescue responded to the scene to assist in the clearing up the accident, said Mike Mock, Carroll’s emergency services director. Laurel Rescue Squad volunteers stood by to cover other calls in the Hillsville area.
At the same time, the Hillsville Fire Department set up landing zones for helicopters to fly the injured out for treatment, Mock added. Helicopters took two patients from Gladeville Elementary School and firefighters had another landing zone at Carroll High School.
In all, four helicopters took patients to Roanoke for treatment, Mock said.
“Due to the amount of trauma, the decision was made to bring in helicopters to get them to trauma centers,” Mock said.
At about 5 p.m., several emergency crews also had to respond to Interstate 77 where Hillard Ray Clark, 85, of Boydton, driving a 2011 Ford Edge, started going southbound in the northbound lanes, according to a Virginia State Police report.
The Edge then struck a 2007 Hummer, driven by Solomon Arlin Owens of Renick, W.Va.
A 2004 Ford Expedition driven by John  P. Lilly Jr. of Charleston, W.Va., struck the Hummer in the rear, as well as the Edge.
Clark was charged with reckless driving, according to the state police report.
With the other emergency medical services working the Laurel Fork accident, volunteers from Pipers Gap, Laurel Rescue and Cana Rescue responded to the Interstate 77 scene while Dugspur Rescue stood by for other emergency medical calls in the Hillsville area, Mock said. Fortunately, all the potential patients at the 77 scene refused treatment.
“I can safely say every rescue squad in the county was assigned to a coverage task somewhere in the county,” he added.
Mock commended all the volunteers for responding and helping to make sure that there was sufficient personnel to cover all needs at both wrecks.
“We’re blessed to have the number of volunteers we have in the county,” Mock said.
He also had praise for the Twin County E-911 for the dispatchers’ hard work during that chaotic time.