12/14/2006

Deputy trapped under flipped car; Rescuers pull injured officer free

By William C. Bayne
The Commercial Appeal

A DeSoto County deputy was injured seriously Tuesday morning when her patrol cruiser left the road and flipped, ejecting her from the vehicle.

The car came to rest on top of Patrolman Michelle Carter, 28, of Southaven.

"She was driving in to work, going south on Fogg Road when the car left the road. It flipped at least once, but possibly more times than that, then came to rest on top of her," said Chief Steve Atkinson, chief spokesman for the Sheriff's Department.

"It was raining at the time, but no determination has been made on whether she may have hydroplaned or exactly what caused the vehicle to leave the road," he said.

The accident occurred about 300 yards north of the new Interstate 69 link between I-55 and U.S. 61.

The first call came at 5:44 a.m. Atkinson said a school bus driver called in before the first car arrived at the scene to report that a sheriff's cruiser and a deputy were involved in the accident.

"It was a scary scene," Atkinson said. "She was pinned underneath. It was raining and awfully muddy. It wasn't a situation where you could just grab her and pull her out from beneath the car."

But he said volunteer firefighters from the Eudora and Walls fire departments and other deputies worked to free Carter.

"It was difficult work requiring a lot of teamwork to get her out safely," he said. "We can't thank those firefighters and deputies enough.

"They used air bags to lift the car off her, then blocked it in place so she could be pulled out."

Carter was flown by Hospital Wing to the Regional Medical Center at Memphis.

She was originally listed in critical condition with injuries to her neck, collarbone and hip.

Her condition was upgraded later in the day to serious but stable.

Meanwhile, Atkinson said the Mississippi Highway Patrol has been asked to assist with the investigation of the accident.

Only one vehicle was involved and Carter was alone in the cruiser when the accident occurred, he said.

Copyright 2006 The Commercial Appeal, Inc.

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