On Friday May 30, 2014, at approximately 3:15 in the afternoon units were requested to respond to Hwy 67 northbound to reports of a head on collision just south of Winter Gardens Blvd. Lakeside Engine 1 arrived on scene and found two vehicles with major damage, each of which had trapped victims inside. Additional resources were immediately requested due to the large workload that would be required to extricate multiple patients from separate vehicles.
The incident, which was being directed by Lakeside Division Chief 4104, utilized engines from Lakeside, Santee, and El Cajon. Two rescue units were also assigned, Santee R5 and Lakeside R3 from the Lake Jennings Fire Station. The two patients were in critical condition meaning they would require separate transporting units so two ALS units were requested as well as Mercy Air 6.
|Crews work to extricate patients from separate vehicles|
The accident scene was strewn with the contents of both vehicles, a sign of how much energy was involved in the collision. Hwy 67 had to be completely closed due to the large volume of debris that resulting from the accident. The closed freeway provided the ability for the fire and law enforcement crews to work safely while extricating the patients. The road closure also allowed for a very close landing zone for Mercy Air 6. It is rare to see a medical helicopter set down on a major interstate in San Diego County in the middle of rush hour traffic. The helicopter, along with the seriousness of the accident, drew crowds of people to the side of the road to watch the incident.
One patient was extricated quickly and immediately transported by Santee Medic 4 to an area trauma center. The other patient took longer to extricate so Mercy Air 6 was utilized to provide transport to the trauma center. Once the patients were extricated and the incident was stabilized the California Highway Patrol took over the scene and began an accident investigation.
|Mercy Air 6 set down on the closed portion of HWY 67|
Photos / Video and Story by Captain Bernie Molloy