Drivers chided in after-action review of serious Portsmouth wreck

Photo: Portsmouth Police Dept.
Photo: Portsmouth Police Dept.

PORTSMOUTH, R.I. (WPRI) – A lack of medical helicopters and selfish drivers hampered efforts to respond to a serious car wreck last month, fire officials said.

The Portsmouth Fire Department released an after-action review of the August 30 crash on West Main Road, which seriously injured several people.

The document, posted to the department’s Facebook page, listed several positives and negatives that were observed during their response.

On the positive side, fire officials said that efforts to extricate the victims from the cars were “efficient and effective,” that several different departments all worked well together at the scene, and that several “trained bystanders jumped in and provided useful assistance.”

However, the report listed two major negatives: a lack of medical helicopters and the behavior of other drivers near the wreck.

The only medical helicopter that was available was based in Hartford and took 35 minutes to reach the scene. Two closer helicopters were in use elsewhere and were not available. According to fire officials, this delayed the arrival of several of the patients to trauma centers.

One of the fire engines responding reported almost colliding with a driver who was not involved in the wreck but was trying to make a U-turn to avoid the wreck. The report indicated several vehicles were blocking their approach to the wreck by making similar maneuvers.

Everyone survived the wreck, which is still under investigation by the police department. Two teenagers and a six year-old were among the injured.

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