BELFAST, Maine — By the time rescue crews were done with the Subaru Impreza after a bad crash Saturday evening, it looked more like a crumpled tin can than a car.
But the driver survived the accident, police said, even though the vehicle appeared was T-boned by a charter bus.
Witnesses told officers that it looked like the woman driving the car turned left from Northport Avenue into the path of the bus, which was traveling north on U.S. Route 1. She was taken to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor by LifeFlight helicopter after rescuers got her out of the car using the Jaws of Life.
Neighbors Mary and David Black said that they heard a very loud crash about 6:20 p.m. at the nearby Route 1 Jug Handle. Mary Black, who is a doctor, called 911 and went to the vehicle to see if she could be of assistance. She said that a nurse already was helping the injured, trapped woman, who was still conscious at that time.
Belfast Police Chief Michael McFadden said that police were not yet identifying the woman, who is in her 50s and was the sole occupant of the Subaru. It took rescuers nearly an hour to get her out of the car and into a waiting ambulance.
“This is a unique situation,” McFadden said, gesturing towards the Subaru, which had been largely taken apart during the rescue effort. “The car was holding onto her pretty good.”
He said that emergency responders had to “pull the dashboard and engine compartment out of her lap.” They ripped the roof and sides off the car and broke into the rear window with a hammer.
As crews from the Belfast Police Department, Belfast Fire Department, Belfast Ambulance and Waldo County Sheriff’s Office worked at the scene, passengers of the charter bus watched and worried. About 20 young adults had been heading from the Camden area to the sold-out Luke Bryan show in Bangor, part of the Waterfront Concert series. One young woman said it was her friend’s 23rd birthday party and many were wearing cowboy boots and hats. All seemed concerned about the safety of the injured woman.
McFadden said that two of the people on the bus suffered comparatively minor injuries in the accident, which caused traffic on the coastal thoroughfare to be rerouted for more than an hour.
David Black said that a lot of accidents have happened at that intersection.
“This is a regular occurrence here, unfortunately,” he said.