Good Samaritans aid driver of overturned car

By Shawn Cunningham & Cynthia Prairie
© 2018 Telegraph Publishing LLC

Viewing the crash from west, Derry Woods Road is at the left in the background. Photos by Lorri Marz Stanton

A New York woman was uninjured in a crash that brought out Londonderry’s emergency responders around 1 p.m. on Saturday, but not before local good Samaritans took control of the scene and gave her aid.

Kristie Wikane, 37, of Stone Ridge, N.Y., was traveling west on Route 11 near Derry Woods Road just after 1 p.m. when she fell asleep and drifted off the road. According to a Vermont State Police press release, Wikane awoke and tried to steer her 2005 Pontiac Vibe back on to the pavement but overcorrected and lost control of the car that crossed the road, crashed into an embankment and overturned.

Eileen Widger, a retired nurse, and her husband Tom, both of North Windham, were heading east on Route 11 near the Derry Town Garage at Derry Woods Road when they saw the white car heading west swerve, hit the embankment and flip over.

The Widgers immediately stopped to check on the driver.

Wikane’s 2005 Pontiac Vibe where it came to rest after hitting the embankment

“The first words out of her mouth,” said Eileen Widger, “were ‘I fell asleep.’”

Lorri Stanton, a nursing supervisor at Springfield Hospital and a neighbor of the Widgers, came upon the scene next and handed Eileen Widger purple Neoprene medical gloves which she keeps for emergencies.

“As soon as Eileen told me she was awake and OK, just trapped, I started to recruit help to direct traffic,” said Stanton. “The farmers market had just closed and a tractor trailer was coming from Chester into a complete cluster.”

Eileen and Tom Widger give Wikane aid until first responders arrive

As Stanton directed traffic around the scene, Widger said she made an assessment of Wikane, who was hanging upsidedown by her seatbelt, then “just talked to her to offer her reassurance.” Another driver arrived with a knife and was able to cut Wikane from the seatbelt. And Wikane left the car feet first.

Widger said Wikane ended up with two nicks on her knee and scrapes on her fingers from crawling onto the pavement. “She’s probably pretty sore today,” she said.

Widger said the driver had been in an all-night relay race in Ascutney and had gotten spotty sleep the night before. “She said she had been looking for a place to take a nap.”

In addition to the good Samaritans, Vermont State Police, the Londonderry Volunteer Rescue Squad and Londonderry’s Phoenix Fire Company responded to the accident.

The Chester Telegraph thanks Lorri Marz Stanton for providing information and photographs of the crash.

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