Rollover crash traps man for an hour after driving vehicle on railroad tracks in Sturgis

Rescue efforts take more than an hour for patient pinned when vehicle rolls and lands against a tree on a steep slope in Sturgis. (FILE/MGN)

Because of the remote location and the deep snow, Sturgis firefighters had to walk to the crash site and carry the extrication equipment needed to rescue a man trapped under his rolled vehicle near some old railroad tracks.

Sturgis police officers received the call about 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, and found the vehicle about a quarter of a mile west of Big Hill Road on the old railroad tracks. They learned the vehicle had been traveling eastbound before it left the tracks, rolling about 50 feet down a steep embankment. The vehicle came to rest on its side, resting with its roof against a tree. One person was trapped inside the vehicle.

Sturgis Fire Department Capt. Cody Cripe, in a written statement on the incident, said firefighters responding to the crash discovered that trapped patient's arm was pinned between the roof of the vehicle and a tree.

The deep snow, steep terrain and remoteness of the site made access difficult. The instability of the vehicle further complicated the rescue efforts. First-arriving firefighters were forced to carry extrication equipment on foot until a four-wheel drive vehicle arrived to transport additional equipment down the tracks.

Firefighters then began to the process of lifting and rolling the vehicle off of the patient's arm, which took about an hour. As soon as the patient's arm was free the patient was rapidly extricated from the vehicle and carried up the embankment.

The patient was transported to Sturgis Hospital for treatment.

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