Saturday, December 01, 2007

Driver experiences seizures while behind the wheel

A driver who was experiencing repeated epileptic seizures was airlifted from Route 107 early Sunday afternoon after Bethel firefighters extricated him from the wreckage of his small station wagon.John Merrick, 41, of Northfield was listed in fair condition Monday afternoon at the Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H.

"He ended up with a broken leg and a minor concussion. It looked worse than it was," Vermont State Police Trooper Mark Harvey said on Monday.Harvey said the onset of the seizures was the apparent cause for the accident that occurred when Merrick's vehicle, which had been northbound, went off the right side of Route 107 and head-on into a tree just north of Tozier's Restaurant.

Merrick was trapped inside the car with his dog."Both of his feet were pinned in pretty good," recalled Bethel Assistant Fire Chief David Aldrighetti who was in command of the rescue effort, adding, "He was having epileptic seizures – quite a few of them actually."Bethel's volunteer firefighters were joined at the scene by White River Valley Ambulance and White River Valley Rescue which brought additional hydraulic rescue tools.

With the large turnout of personnel, the groups were able to pry Merrick out of the vehicle despite his on-going seizures and transfer him to the DHART medivac helicopter, which landed in a small field nearby.

Aldrighetti said Merrick's fiancé arrived on the scene shortly after the accident and was able to talk to him before he was airlifted out.Aldrighetti added that while the dog was limping after it was freed from the car, "it was taken off to the vet and it looked like it was going to be okay."


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