Responders lift wrecked van from pinned girl

Posted Sept. 01, 2009, at 11:07 p.m.

BROOKS, Maine — Sheriff’s deputies and rescue personnel were credited with saving the life of a young girl after they lifted her mother’s wrecked van from atop her after a two-vehicle crash Sunday night.

Hannah Clifford, 9, of Brooks was taken to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor with serious injuries after the van she was riding in with her mother and three siblings was hit broadside by a pickup truck that apparently ran a stop sign.

“They lifted up that van and saved that little girl. I’m awfully proud of them,” Waldo County Sheriff Scott Story said Tuesday. “I’m not talking just about law enforcement. The emergency people, too. They all rolled up their sleeves and worked to help that little girl. We’re really concerned about her. A lot of these guys are family men with kids of their own so it really hit home.”

The accident occurred at 7:58 p.m. at the intersection of Route 139 and Bog Road. Story said a pickup truck driven by John Pellitier, 21, of Unity ran the Bog Road stop sign and struck the passenger side of a van driven by Andrea Clifford, 40, of Brooks.

The impact sent the van spinning into the woods. Hannah Clifford was ejected and the van rolled on top of her. Emergency personnel used brute strength to lift the van, enabling Clifford’s mother to pull her to safety. Story said Hannah was expected to survive her injuries.

Andrea Clifford and her daughter Morgan, 13, both suffered lacerations in the crash and were taken by ambulance to Waldo County General Hospital in Belfast. Clifford’s two other children, Elizabeth, 11, and John, 7, were not hurt in the crash.

Pellitier’s truck also rolled over and came to a stop across Route 139 on Brown Road. Pellitier, who also was ejected from his vehicle, suffered a deep cut on his back and was taken to WCGH for treatment.

His passenger Michael Brillard, 24, Thorndike also was taken to the Belfast hospital complaining of neck and back pain. A third passenger, Keith McCauley Jr., 23, of Jackson, who had a warrant out for his arrest, ran from the scene. He later made contact with authorities, Story said.

Story said Tuesday the accident still was under investigation and officers were unsure whether all those riding in the two vehicles were wearing seat belts.

Sgt. Dale Brown and Deputies Dave Mushrall and Kevin Littlefield went to the accident scene along with members of the Brooks and Monroe fire departments and the Brooks and Unity ambulance.

“The accident is still under investigation and charges are possible,” Story said.

wgriffin@bangordailynews.net

338-9546

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