I-91 rollover injures 3, closes road
By ERIC FRANCIS
CORRESPONDENT | May 11,2014
PHOTO BY LEN EMERY
A medical helicopter lifts off from Interstate 91 heading to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H., following a crash Saturday afternoon.
ASCUTNEY — What was to have been a weekend fishing trip for a half-dozen retired firefighters from Connecticut was derailed Saturday when one of two pickup trucks carrying the group rolled over several times on Interstate 91.
“There were three people in the cab. Two were trapped and one climbed out through the window,” said Ascutney Fire Chief Darrin Spaulding.
After a difficult extrication effort the other two occupants were freed, with one being airlifted off the highway by a DHART medical helicopter and the other taken to Valley Regional Hospital in Claremont, N.H., by a Golden Cross Ambulance crew.
The crash closed the northbound side of the interstate between Exit 7 in Springfield and Exit 8 in Ascutney for more than three hours to allow for the rescue operation and then an investigation by members of the Vermont State Police’s Accident Reconstruction Team.
Vermont State Police said the driver of the red Ford F-150 pickup, Ronald Moroch, 72, apparently lost control of the vehicle at mile marker 50 and swerved onto the grassy median.
“He steered the truck back onto the pavement but it continued to ‘fishtail’ (before it) rolled over several times on the middle of the northbound side and then landed on its wheels,” said Trooper Paul Dean, who added that truck ended up facing east and blocking the travel lane.
“They were trapped pretty bad. We had to cut the two doors to get them out and get them onto stretchers, Spaulding added, noting, “They were all in their 70s. They were going to go fishing in Maine and there was another truck in front of them that had another three guys that were traveling with them.”
Moroch, who was taken to Valley Regional Hospital, and his passenger, Robert Hagen, 70, who was airlifted to the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H., both suffered lacerations to their heads and bodies with officials saying that Hagen had suffered a severe head injury. The second passenger, Michael Pineault, sustained only minor cuts. All three men are from Colchester, Conn.
Dean said that while the cause of the crash is still under investigation both speed and alcohol have been ruled out as factors.
The Springfield Fire Department assisted the Vermont Agency of Transportation with the shutdown of Exit 7 and detouring traffic up along Route 5 North.