Truck driver badly injured when rig overturns Dwaine F. Claypool may have lost control of vehicle while negotiating curve

October 01, 1997|By Mike Farabaugh | Mike Farabaugh,SUN STAFF

A truck driver hauling logs for a Westminster tree and stump removal company was severely injured yesterday morning when his truck overturned near Eldersburg and slid into a utility pole, state police said.

Dwaine F. Claypool, 31, of the 2100 block of Kauffman Road, New Windsor, was taken by state MedEvac helicopter to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore where he was in critical condition, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Police said Claypool was traveling south on Mineral Hill Road when he apparently lost control in the 5800 block while trying to negotiate a sharp curve.

Robert Welsh, 57, who lives near the accident scene on Mineral Hill Road at Constantine Drive in southeastern Carroll County, was the first to arrive after the crash.

"I was reading the newspaper just before 8 o'clock when I heard a loud crash and the electricity suddenly went out," Welsh said.

The truck had flipped on its right side and slid into a gas and electric pole about 20 feet from a house. Claypool was conscious and the truck engine was smoking, Welsh said.

"A lady who was walking her dog said she saw flames about 3 feet high, but I was trying to get the driver out," he said.

Welsh said Claypool's legs were wedged beneath the dashboard and he had a gash on his forehead.

"His legs were pinned beneath the steering wheel and the dash," Welsh said. "I tried to get him free, but it was too painful for him, so all I could do was provide him some comfort."

Logs -- 10 to 20 feet long and between 18 and 24 inches in diameter -- were strewn across the yard, Welsh said.

Claypool's legs were broken, according to state police.

A MedEvac helicopter waited nearby, but it took rescue workers more than an hour to extricate Claypool and a second MedEvac unit was called to relieve the first, emergency officials said.

Utility and state environmental crews were summoned to restore electricity and clean up a minor oil spill.

The truck, which was hauling for Expert Tree & Stump Removal of Westminster, was towed away about 1 p.m., but state police kept Mineral Hill Road closed until 5 p.m. until the logs could be removed and electric wires repaired.

Welsh said it appeared that only one chain securing the logs on the truck had broken.

"It could have been a lot worse," he said.

Welsh said the downhill curve on Mineral Hill Road for vehicles traveling south is very sharp and has been the scene of two or three serious accidents a year.

The speed limit -- 30 mph -- is well posted and there are signs warning drivers of the curve, but "you really have to slow down to keep from losing control," he said.

Pub Date: 10/01/97

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