August 23, 2019

Mother, son rescued from crash> Seat belts, help of good Samaritans minimize injuries to victims

ST. GEORGE — A Port Clyde woman and her 3-year-old son miraculously survived a spectacular crash here Wednesday morning with the help of seat belts and a couple of local heroes.

Heather McLaughlin, 27, was driving north on Route 131 at about 9 a.m. with her son, Tash, when she came to a sharp curve and lost control of her car, which hit a deep ditch and became airborne. The Subaru sedan slammed to the ground about 20 feet away, rolled over and came to rest on its side, the roof nearly flattened.

Following in a line of cars McLaughlin had just passed, Glen Haight of St. George stopped, put out an engine fire with his fire extinguisher and, with the help of another man, pulled the two from the car to safety.

“There isn’t time to think in a situation like that. You just do what you can,” Haight said. “I’m just glad I had that extinguisher in my car. It looked really bad. It’s great to hear it sounds like they’re going to be OK.”

The first person on the scene was Christine Rike, a registered nurse from St. George. “She flagged us down and told us just how to get them out of the car safely,” Haight said. “It was great having a nurse right there. She really ran the show.”

McLaughlin was listed in fair condition at Penobscot Bay Medical Center Wednesday evening with severe bruises and lacerations. Tash was undergoing surgery for a deep gash to his head, but the injury was not considered life-threatening. Medical care at the scene was provided by ambulance crews from St. George and Thomaston.

Knox County Deputy Sheriff William Smith said the cause of the accident appeared to be excessive speed on the sharp curve. “She was wearing her seat belt and the boy was secured in a child-safety seat in the back,” Smith said. “That was a key factor in their survival, along with the help of those who stopped to render aid.”

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