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Driver trapped for an hour in wreckage

Staff writer

Fire departments from three cities were dispatched Friday to a three-car crash on US-50 near Peabody that trapped a seriously injured man in his crumpled Chevy Suburban for more than an hour.

Officers of Marion County sheriff’s department, Peabody Police, and Kansas Department of Transportation moved in quickly to control traffic at the chaotic scene.

The driver of the suburban, Matthew Lunday, 41, of Enid, Oklahoma was airlifted to Wesley Medical Center in serious condition.

Peabody firefighter Bailey Penner heard the crash from his house. He was one of the first to respond and he is grateful for the help Walton’s city department brought during a scary situation.

“Wrecks are rare, we don’t get the opportunity to really cut a lot of cars,” he said. “But Walton had just done extraction training before the wreck — so they were fresh.”

The accident occurred as a silver Toyota Camry, driven by Jenna McConaha, 33, and an orange Kenworth semi driven by Singh Palwinder, 27, were both headed westbound on U.S.-55.

McConaha, of Lancaster, Ohio, then stopped to turn on to Maple St.

Palwinder told officers he saw the Camry’s break light but no turn signal, undersheriff David Huntley said.

The Fresno, California, resident turned left instead of right to avoid a collision with the Camry and hit Lunday’s Suburban “pretty much head-on, on the driver’s side,” Huntley said, adding that citations had not yet been issued.

“I think he figured he’d roll down the embankment if he went to the right,” Huntley said. “That’s a pretty good embankment.”

The Suburban’s crumpled dashboard trapped Lunday’s legs beneath it, and the vehicle’s door was horribly mangled, Bailey said.

Walton’s fire department had its chop saw and experience, but the crushed vehicle would take time to navigate.

And then there was the danger to the injured patient.

The femur in one of Lunday’s legs was broken so badly the bone pierced the skin. He was bleeding, Bailey said.

Travis Parmley, director of Marion County Emergency Medica Services, said he may have had internal injuries as well.

Parmley said emergency workers gave Lunday medication for his pain. A tourniquet controlled bleeding.

Mud on the embankment caused the vehicle to slide down the hill, so it was shored up with a winch.

Firefighters worked on the mangled door with the chop saw until they were able to push it out of the way. They then lifted the dashboard with aid of a hydraulic ram.

It took more than an hour, but their freed patient’s vitals were stable even if he was still in serious condition.

The experience has shown Bailey how to be patient in a crisis.

“We want to get a seriously hurt patient out of a car as fast as we can, but sometimes we are not afforded that luxury,” he said. “It’s like surgery. You have to work it out for a while. Effectively, this was one of those.”

Staff at Wesley Medical Center reported Lunday’s condition was good at press time.

“I am happy that we had the help we did have. Everyone there was a blessing,” Bailey said. “We worked extremely well together, so I have no complaints.”

Last modified June 25, 2020

 

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