It started as a routine trip for John Seeley along Route 74 in Shoreham.
"Just headed to a local job to do some excavation work," Seeley said.
But about a mile up the road the trip went horribly wrong. Police say a car driven by Mark Thomas, 43, of Bristol, was headed straight toward Seeley in the wrong lane.
"I tried to steer around him," Seeley said.
But it was too late to avoid what police say was a distracted driver.
"I believe he said he was reaching for something on his dash and wasn't paying attention to the roadway," Vt. State Tpr. Evan Doxsee said. "The dump truck clipped the vehicle and lost control and went across the roadway."
"I didn't see the second car," Seeley said.
Seeley's dump truck, which was carrying 16 tons of rock, tipped over on top of a minivan that was behind the car.
"Once you realize you are going over, you just try to ride out it best you can," Seeley said. "You really don't have any control."
Seeley was not hurt and immediately jumped out of the truck to check on the other two cars.
"I just heard the woman calling for help," Seeley said. "I climbed off the truck to see if I could help her but she was pinned."
"When we got here, the patient's left shoulder and head were coming out the driver's window. She had this much room around her with rocks around her and the truck on top of the windshield," Shoreham Assistant Fire Chief Jim Ortuno said.
It took 30 first responders nearly an hour to free Michele Almeida, 37, of Orwell.
"We got her out of a very difficult situation because of the weight of that truck, trying to balance the truck and not crush her, at the same time trying to get her out and move the car away enough to slide her out," Ortuno said.
After being removed from the minivan, Almeida was airlifted to the hospital to be treated for lacerations to her arms and legs. Thomas, the driver who police say caused the pileup, was transported to the hospital to be treated for glass in his eyes. His 2-month-old daughter escaped uninjured. Her car seat was on the opposite side of where the truck hit.
"It's unfortunate it had to happen, but nobody was killed and everybody was lucky, especially the lady in the van," Seeley said.
Police say they will issue Thomas three tickets; one for driving with a suspended license, having an expired license and failure to stay right of the center line.
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