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By Miriam Raftery


February 6, 2010 (National City) -- A vehicle rolled over 100 feet off the freeway at 3:41 this morning at Highway 54 west of Highland, trapping one victim under the vehicle.  Emergency responders from multiple jurisdictions arrived, with National City Fire Department arriving first on the scene. 


"When personnel made contact with the victim, they were amazed how lucky this individual was," National City Fire Department engineer Matt Lucas wrote on the Heartland Fire Zone blog.  "Apparently, the victim had swerved off the freeway, rolled several times down the embankment and was ejected just prior to the vehicle coming to rest on it's side. The victim's left arm was pinned beneath the vehicle. The only thing keeping the vehicle from completely rolling over onto the victim was a small tree."


Emergency crews reached the victim from an access road below the site.  He was conscious, alert, and complaining of only minor arm pain.  Emergencyy workers placed rescue struts to stabilize and lift the vehicle.  Within minutes, crews had the vehicle lifted high enough to extricate the victim who immediately wanted to get up and away from the twisted piece of metal which only moments ago had him trapped. The victim was transported the patient to UCSD's Trauma facility.


Soon after, at 4:45 am, National City crews were just peeling off their turnouts from the Highway 54 incident when they received an alert of another vehicle rescue on rain-slicked Highway 54. This time it was on the East bound transition to the North bound 805, an area with frequent collisions. Heartland notified crews of a single vehicle rollover with one trapped victim.


The single occupant was alert, conscious, and standing upright in her vehicle which was resting precariously on its passenger side. After stabilizing the vehicle, National City's crew prepared to peel back the roof of the vehicle, but a second crew broke out the rear window of the vehicle, which allowed the victim to escape.


Medics assessed the patient while she was being placed in spinal immobilization, after which she was transported to Sharp's Trauma facility.


"This patient was also very lucky," Lucas concluded. "She was only a couple of feet from rolling down a steep embankment to the freeway below."

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