By RACHEL C. DOVE
BREWER STREET, U.S. 119 - A Forest Hills, Ky., resident, formerly of Lenore, narrowly escaped with his life on Tuesday morning after being involved in an accident that resulted in his Dodge Stratus crashing through a guard rail and flipping onto its top in a deep culvert near the Brewer Street exit, off of U.S. 119 near Borderland.
According to information provided by West Virginia State Police Sgt. J.C. Dotson and Trooper J.J. Dean III, they were dispatched to the accident scene at approximately 8:05 a.m. after a passing motorist contacted Mingo County 911 and reported the wreck.
Upon arrival, the troopers, who were assisted by STAT Ambulance and members of the Chattaroy Volunteer Fire Department found the driver of the vehicle, Ralph Weslie Davis, 43, partially penned underneath the hood of the Dodge that was lying on its roof.
Only the head and upper torso area of the victim remained inside the vehicle.
Ben Brock, a firefighter with the Chattaroy Department, stated that it was necessary to use the Jaws of Life to free Davis from the vehicle, along with air bags to raise the front section of the car off his body.
“We had to climb down a steep incline to reach the vehicle, which landed in a deep culvert overgrown with weeds. Getting our equipment down to the scene wasn’t an easy task,” said Chattaroy Fire Chief Joe Rumore.
“The driver could have easily been killed in the accident. Yes, he did suffer some serious injuries, but after seeing the condition the vehicle was in, he’s truly blessed to be alive.”
A direct cause of the accident still remains unknown, but the WVSP is hopeful that once the condition of Davis improves and he is able to communicate, they may get the answers they need to conclude their investigation.
According to a hospital spokesman in the Trauma Unit of the St. Mary’s Medical Center in Huntington where Davis was transferred by EMS after initially being treated and stabilized at the Williamson Memorial Hospital, his condition is listed as critical but stable.
Confirmed injuries include a femur fracture, C-Spine fracture and undisclosed head injuries. Extensive testing was ordered to rule-out other possible injuries, said the nurse.
Tpr. Dean saod that both air-bags in the vehicle did deploy, and it appeared that Davis was not wearing a seatbelt.
Hook N’ Haul Wrecker Service removed the vehicle from the scene.