A young Locust Grove woman was critically injured in a two-vehicle crash Tuesday afternoon in Orange County, authorities said Thursday.
The Orange Sheriff’s Office said the injuries may have been worse or fatal if not for the efforts of Deputy Bryan McFarlane, who led an effort to successfully remove the woman from her burning car.
According to Virginia State Police Sgt. Brent Coffey, the crash occurred at 2:14 p.m. on Gold Dale Road (State Route 604 at Childress Road.) A 2013 Honda Civic was traveling east when it crossed a double solid yellow line at a high rate of speed while attempting to pass an eastbound 2014 Mercedes C300, police said.
Coffey said the Honda ran off the left side of the road, overcorrected and collided with the Mercedes. The impact caused the Mercedes to run head-on into a tree and catch fire, while the Honda ran off the right side of the road, overturned and collided with a fence before coming to rest, police said.
The Honda driver was taken to Mary Washington Hospital to be treated for minor injuries. She was not wearing a seat belt, Coffey said.
The Mercedes driver was flown to the VCU Medical Center for treatment after being removed from the burning car. The victim, who was identified only as a 21-year-old woman from Locust Grove, was wearing her seat belt.
Sky L. Travers, also 21 of Locust Grove, was charged with DUI-maiming, failure to drive on the right side of the road and failing to wear a seat belt. She was placed in the Central Virginia Regional Jail.
A release from the Orange Sheriff’s Office states that McFarlane showed up shortly after the accident and assisted Travers. Bystanders were yelling at the deputy to alert him to the other vehicle about 100 yards away that was starting to catch on fire.
Police said McFarlane emptied his fire extinguisher and poured a gallon of water on the fire, but that didn’t put it out. Several Virginia Department of Transportation employees and citizens emptied other fire extinguishers on the fire but were also unable to quench it.
The fire was gaining intensity, the release said, when the deputy hooked a tow strap to his vehicle and the wrecked door in an attempt to open it. The first attempt failed, but McFarlane was finally able to get the victim’s door open long enough for the VDOT employees and others to pull the woman out of the burning car.
Also on Thursday, the Sheriff’s Office released information about a June 3 wreck in Locust Grove on Zoar Road in which Sheriff’s Sgt. John Berry and Deputy Jacob Ganoe rolled an overturned car off a motorist who was trapped underneath. EMS arrived shortly thereafter and transported the victim to the hospital, the release said.
Keith Epps: 540/374-5404