An unfortunate tragedy happened on Route 5 in Ronckingham at around 6 a.m. A Putney man lost his life Monday morning after he met a terrible accident. His vehicle crashed into a tractor trailer.
According to the police, 21 year old Dillon Loomis was driving his 1996 Jeep Cherokee at speeds more than 80 mph when he collided with the 2010 Freightliner tractor trailer.
The tragic accident happened near the Exit 6 off-ramp of Interstate 91.
Loomis spent almost an hour trapped under the truck before he was rescued. He was sent to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H., via helicopter, where he was later pronounced dead.
Craig Hawkins , 57, of Westminster, had left the interstate and halted at the end of the off-ramp. As he made a left turn onto Route 5 Ãƒ‚Ã¢€“ Loomis, who was traveling south, hit his tractor trailer at a speed more than 80 mph, the police said.
Vermont State Trooper Paul Dean said that Loomis' Jeep went through far under the truck with its front end protruding out from the other side.
Several outside agencies was needed to get involved in the rescue attempt; Dean said, L and B Trucking played an important role. The Rockingham Fire Department, Springfield Fire Department, Westminster Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department and Golden Cross Ambulance also pitched in in the extrication of Loomis' body.
"We had to use a heavy-duty wrecker to lift up the trailer, and then we were able to put support under the trailer and use the jaws of life to extricate the operator out of the vehicle," Dean said.
"Even after," he added, "we had to get under there with a torch. To get the jeep out from under the truck, we had to cut the truck's gas tank out."
Driver of the 2010 Freightliner tractor trailer, Hawkins, was not injured, said Dean. He was also found not to be in violation of any commercial motor vehicle law, he added.
At that time of the accident, the weather was nice and clear,l and the roadway was quite dry.
Police said that drugs and alcohol as a contributing factor to the accident can be ruled out. Dean made it clear that even though it was still dark and that area of Route 5 was ill-lighted , speed was the best factor to blame for the accident.
"There were just under 300 feet of skid marks, and what that did was enable us to do an accident reconstruction and figure out that the minimum speed at the beginning skid was approximately 81 miles per hour," Dean, saying further, that the speed limit for that stretch of road is 40 mph.
He further clarified that the calculation does not include how fast the Jeep was still traveling on impact. Dean expounded by giving an example; if the vehicle was traveling 10 mph on impact, that can be added to the estimate for a total of 90 mph before the brakes were applied.
Loomis hitting the brakes didn't help much. He was traveling so fast that his vehicle got wedged totally under the tractor trailer.
"That's a lot of energy that the Jeep still had," Dean said.
Furthermore, the state trooper said, a woman who was stopped at a nearby Shell Gas Station narrated how she saw Loomis' vehicle charging at a fatally high rate of speed shortly before the crash.
Dean explained that traffic control became an issue when the road was completely shut down for more than six hours. He stressed that it is quite difficult to bypass that section of Route 5.
"Impatient people liked to try to drive around (the accident site), so we had to deal with that on top of everything else," he said.
By 6 pm, both lanes were already opened to traffic.