Passing trooper finds woman, 76, trapped in overturned car

A Charlotte woman whose SUV slid off an icy road and landed on its side was freed after being discovered by a passing Vermont State Police trooper on Spear Street last week, state police said.

The accident happened in the early evening on Jan. 22. The weather was cold with a wintry mix of precipitation falling onto an ice-covered road, according to the police report.

Shortly before 6 p.m., Trooper Christopher Hein from the New Haven barracks was on patrol when he spotted a vehicle off the road in a culvert resting on the driver’s side. The driver, Elizabeth Silvester, 76, of Charlotte, was trapped and still seat-belted inside, police said.

“The operator had been in her vehicle for a short period of time prior to my arrival, she estimated approximately 5 minutes,” Hein said.

Crews from Charlotte Rescue and both Shelburne and Charlotte Fire departments helped free Silvester from her 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee, which was totaled, police said.

“More than likely, the use of a seat belt prevented the driver from having more serious injuries,” Charlotte Assistant Fire Chief Rob Mullin said in a news release.

Police determined that the woman had been driving northbound on Spear Street just north of Sheehan Green when her car crossed into the opposite lane and then went off the west side of the road into a culvert, landing on its side.

Rescue crews worked to stabilize Silvester’s car, allowing EMS workers to reach her, Mullin said. Fire crews removed the rear seats and the windshield from the vehicle to get the woman out, Mullin said. Next, Silvester was placed on a backboard and handed up and out of the ditch to another crew, Mullin explained.

Hein said Silvester was not badly hurt but she was taken to UVM Medical Center for evaluation “as a precaution.”

A hospital spokesman said she was treated and released that evening.

Hein said the accident is still under investigation and anyone who may have witnessed this crash is asked to contact the Vermont State Police New Haven Barracks at 388-4919.

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