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School officials assist woman in accident

Two McDuffie County school officials went to the aid of an injured woman, who was trapped inside her wrecked pickup truck for about 30 minutes after she lost control at the wheel, flipped and careened into a creek bed on Lincolnton Road near Thomson last Wednesday.

School Superintendent Jim LeBrun and Associate Superintendent Dr. Jim Franklin were nearly involved in a head-on crash with the truck shortly after 1:30 p.m.

The school officials were returning to the school board office in Thomson following a luncheon to pay tribute to local veterans at McDuffie Place in the Raysville Community.

Chris Dunsmore, of Lincolnton, also witnessed the wreck and stopped to aid the victim.

"We were all very concerned about the well-being of this woman," Mr. LeBrun said at the scene of the wreck that occurred on a rain-slickened roadway.

The school superintendent actually climbed onto the truck to help free the trapped woman before emergency rescue workers arrived.

When Mr. LeBrun discovered that both doors were jammed, he decided to do the next best thing -- simply keep the injured woman as calm as he could by talking with her.

"That seemed to help," he said.

Dr. Franklin, meanwhile, was busy notifying emergency agencies about the wreck.

Georgia State Patrol Trooper First Class Mike Callaway identified the victim as 31-year-old Corainne Otto, of McCormick, S.C.

Ms. Otto, who is several months pregnant, was treated at the scene by personnel with McDuffie County Emergency Medical Services before being rushed by ambulance to Medical College of Georgia Hospital in Augusta.

Capt. Bobby Reynolds with the McDuffie County Fire/Rescue Services had to use a specialized saw to cut the front windshield so that he and fellow rescue workers could free Ms. Otto.

At the time, the truck, which was badly damaged, was tilted toward the passenger side on two wheels. Because it appeared that it might turn over into the creek, rescue workers had to tie a rope to the side of the truck's rooftop to keep it braced and to avoid any dangers as they freed the woman.

Rescue workers placed Ms. Otto into a special basket. They then hoisted her up the side of a steep embankment, using a winch from a rescue truck to pull her up. Rescue workers assisted in that process.

Mr. LeBrun and Dr. Franklin said they were just glad they were able to help in some way.

Web posted on Thursday, November 19, 2009

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