Carmel woman trapped when vehicle crashes, catches fire

Posted Nov. 04, 2010, at 9:15 p.m.

ETNA, Maine — A Carmel woman escaped serious injury Thursday when her Jeep left the roadway, struck a tree and then caught fire while she was pinned inside.

Rebecca Saulnier, 25, who was taken to St. Joseph Hospital in Bangor after the accident, was listed in stable condition Thursday night, a nursing supervisor said.

The accident happened about 4:50 p.m. as Saulnier was traveling Plymouth Road, according to Deputy Ed Toulouse of the Penobscot County Sheriff’s Department.

He said that for a reason that has yet to be determined, Saulnier’s 2005 Jeep Liberty went off the road and struck a tree with its front passenger side.

The impact pushed the Jeep’s firewall, which is the metal barrier between a vehicle’s passenger and engine compartments, into her legs, trapping her inside, Toulouse said. The vehicle then caught fire, he said.

After Etna firefighters extinguished the fire, it took them an hour to get Saulner out of the Jeep, which required cutting off the vehicle’s roof, Toulouse said.

“It’s a wonder that she wasn’t more seriously injured,” Toulouse said.

Toulouse said that Saulnier’s Jeep was demolished. He said it appears she was wearing her seat belt when the accident happened and said that her Jeep’s air bags deployed.

Toulouse said the accident remained under investigation Thursday night.

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