In a rescue operation that saw a transporting helicopter land and take off from the highway, paramedics airlifted a woman to a Boston hospital with serious injuries Thursday after firefighters cut her free from her wrecked car on Route 128.
The woman – a 27-year-old Gloucester resident whose name was not being released by police as of last night —crashed her sedan into the right side guardrail of the northbound lane on Route 128 just before Exit 14 at around 12:40 p.m., police said.
Gloucester Police, Massachusetts State Police and Gloucester firefighters and paramedics responded, shutting down traffic along Cape Ann’s main artery for more than two hours.
The helicopter, from Dartmouth-Hitchcock Air Ambulance (DHART), landed on the highway, but it took firefighters two hours to cut her out of the car, Gloucester Lt. Joe Aiello said she was alert, and conscious throughout the ordeal. She was the only one in the car.
“It will take a couple of hours before anyone figures out what happened,” he said.
State police confirmed Thursday night that the woman suffered serious injuries, and said she will also be facing charges stemming from the crash.
State Police trooper Kenneth Gaetz said she is charged with driving under the influence of drugs, and driving with an already-suspended license.
Police are continuing to investigate the crash, but Gloucester Police Sgt. Mike Williams said at the scene there were no apparent wi
tnesses to it. The conditions and the stretch of roadway before Exit 14 were clear.
When police got to the woman’s car, Williams said, a few citizens were tending to her, including a doctor and a nurse.
At the scene, police cruisers and fire engines blocked the northbound lane from Exit 14 to Exit 15, and directed all traffic incoming toward Gloucester off Exit 15 onto Manchester’s School Street.
Firefighters clambered over the wrecked silver sedan, cutting the car away from the woman trapped inside. The car rested, supported by two jacks, almost on its side with 10 feet of compressed guard rail punched into the drivers side.
Fire Chief Eric Smith, who worked with firefighters to free her, said the c
rash and guardrail pushed her into the passenger’s seat, and wrapped a lot of the car around her l
egs. That made the work complicated and difficult.
After pulling her from the wreckage, paramedics set her in DHART’s helicopter, which took off from the highway and headed south toward Boston.
“It’s pretty rare to see someone survive something like this,” Smith said, as he watched one of Tally’s wreckers pull the sedan out from the guardrail after the airlift.
Steven Fletcher can be reached at 978-283-7000, x3455, or at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @