Police, fire respond to rollover in Ellington Township

Caro Fire Department firefighters remove the roof of a vehicle involved in a rollover accident in Ellington Township on Thursday, Jan. 19, 2017. The roof was removed using the Jaws of the Life. The driver was alert and moving after being removed from the vehicle for transport to a hospital. (Photo by Andrew Dietderich)
Caro Fire Department firefighters remove the roof of a vehicle involved in a rollover accident in Ellington Township on Thursday, Jan. 19, 2017. The roof was removed using the Jaws of the Life. The driver was alert and moving after being removed from the vehicle for transport to a hospital. (Photo by Andrew Dietderich)

Multiple agencies responded to a rollover accident near the intersection of Deckerville and Hurds Corner in Tuscola County’s Ellington Township late Thursday morning.

Caro Fire Department Chief Randy Heckroth said the blue Dodge Ram pick-up truck was being driven by an elderly man at the time of the single-vehicle incident that happened at about 11:30 a.m.

The driver has since been identified as Ormon Smith, 67, of Cass City.

Tuscola County Undersheriff Robert Baxter said “investigators believe a medical issue may have contributed to the crash, however that is still under investigation.”

“Due to that, the driver will be referred to the Secretary of State for a possible driver re-exam,” Baxter said.

Heckroth said Smith appears to have been driving east on Deckerville, and crossed the center line to the the shoulder on the opposite side of the road.

Early evidence indicates Smith tried to over-correct, according to Heckroth, and drove into a ditch on the other side of the road before hitting a large pile of wood from trees that had been cut and were within feet of the shoulder of Deckerville Road.

A pickup truck flipped over after leaving the road and hitting a pile of wood near Deckerville and Hurds Corner roads in Ellington Township Thursday. (Photo by Andrew Dietderich)
A pickup truck flipped over after leaving the road and hitting a pile of wood near Deckerville and Hurds Corner roads in Ellington Township Thursday. (Photo by Andrew Dietderich)

Heckroth said it’s believed that the truck flipped over when it hit the woodpile.

Firefighters from the Caro Fire Department were on-scene within five minutes, said one witness.

“We had to use the Jaws (of Life) to remove the roof because it was squished right down on top of him,” Heckroth told The Advertiser. “We also tore the side of the vehicle apart to get him out.”

Smith was alert and talking prior to transport to the hospital via Fairgrove MMR.

Heckroth thanked Delbert Mathewson, of Cass City, who was driving by and helped hold Smith’s neck in place while firefighters worked to extract the driver.

Mathewson said Smith was “very coherent” after the accident, even when pinned in.

“He was trying to get his seatbelt off, and over his head,” Mathewson said.

Also on scene were Tuscola County Road Commission and the Tuscola County Sheriff’s Department. LifeNet of Michigan was called to respond via medical helicopter, but could not due to weather conditions.

Andrew Dietderich is editor of The Advertiser and can be reached at andrew@tcadvertiser.com

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