Local News

Paramedic: Crawling into flattened cars just part of job

Posted April 14, 2009 6:09 p.m. EDT
Updated April 15, 2009 9:27 a.m. EDT

— A paramedic said crawling into a wrecked car with an overturned dump truck on top of it and talking to a trapped woman for more than two hours are just part of the job.

Seeing the trapped woman make it out of the car and to the hospital is the job's reward, the paramedic said.

Lisa Plunkett, with the Cary EMS service, was one of the first people on the scene at Davis Drive where a 1999 Freightliner dump truck overturned onto a 2007 Honda Civic Monday afternoon.

"It was just amazing. The car didn't even look like a car anymore," Plunkett said.

"I thought there's no way anybody could survive that – no way," Cary EMS Division Chief Christian Heinrich said.

But Chad Benton, 26 had managed to get out of the Civic. Kara Benton, 25, was still pinned inside the car, underneath the dump truck.

Plunkett crawled into the flattened car and provided care to Kara Benton. The paramedic talked to Holly Springs woman, while rescue crews labored to extricate her.

"We talked about her life. I asked her if she was married, if she had children," Plunkett said. "(I was) just trying to keep her occupied, so she wasn't focusing on her injuries, on her pain or all of the noises that were around her."

After two hours, rescuers pulled Kara Benton out of the car. She was airlifted to WakeMed in Raleigh and was in good condition Tuesday morning.

"It was amazing. It's a miracle," Heinrich said. "We see a lot of bad stuff, and this is one of those great calls where you're just happy there was a good outcome."

"We were all really relieved, because we had worked so hard," Plunkett said.

Chad Benton, of Holly Springs, was treated and released from WakeMed. The dump truck driver, Edmund Theodore Jackson, 52, of New Haven, Conn., wasn't seriously injured.

Troopers charged Jackson with reckless driving. Investigators said they believe he over-corrected after running off the road and crossed the center line.

Plunkett claimed no special credit for her part in the effort to rescue Kara Benton.

"I did what any other paramedic would have done," she said.

But Plunkett said that hearing of wreck victims recovering motivates her as paramedic.

"That's what makes your job worth it," she said.