By ROGER AMSDEN, for THE LACONIA DAILY SUN
BELMONT — Police say that the woman driver of a car which snapped a utility pole and then sideswiped three spruce trees before becoming airborne and smashing into another utility pole Friday afternoon on Route 140 suffered severe injuries in the accident.
"The car was being driven at an extremely high rate of speed and there was no sign of any pre-crash braking," said Police Chief Mark Lewandoski, who said the woman was thrown from the vehicle before it hit the second utility pole with such force that its engine was thrown nearly 70 feet across the highway and was still burning when police arrived.
No condition report was available for the woman, who was described as being in her early 40s, and was taken to Lakes Region General Hospital in Laconia following the single-car crash which took place around 1:45 p.m. Lewandoski said he assumed that she was being taken by helicopter to Dartmouth-Hitchcock in Lebanon but had heard that the DART flight had been placed on hold.
He said that Belmont Police had been dispatched to Route 140 shortly before the accident after receiving two calls regarding a reckless driver headed east towards Belmont on that highway.
The accident took place about 200 yards east of Hillcrest Pizza and BBQ on Route 140 and people who live near the scene said that they heard it, but did not witness it.
"It sounded like three continuous sonic booms," said Kimberly McManus, who called 9-1-1 as Carrie Putnam, whom she was visiting, went outside to see what was happening.
Putnam said that when she came out of her home she saw the engine engulfed in flames on her neighbor's lawn and a the woman driver across the highway lying beside the road and behind the smashed car.
"It looked like she was dead. When I got close to her I could see that she was breathing but unconscious. I tried talking to her but she didn't respond. I stayed with her until the ambulance arrived. I didn't want her to be alone if she died," said Putnam.
Lewandoski said that the ambulance crews found the woman lying next to and partially under a portion of the utility pole her vehicle had hit first.
He said that the force of the collision was so great and the car moving at such a high rate of speed that if it would have hit a mobile home in the Pine Garden Mobile Home Park if it hadn't collided with the spruce trees.
Route 140 was closed to traffic for several hours following the accident.
The engine of car which crashed on Rte. 140 in Belmont Friday afternoon was thrown across the highway some 70 feet from where the car came to rest. (Roger Amsden photo for the Laconia Daily Sun)
A car which was reportedly being driven at a high rate of speed hit two utility poles on Rte. 140 in Belmont Friday afternoon and the woman driver was thrown from the vehicle by the force of the collisions. (Roger Amsden photo for the Laconia Daily Sun)
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