April 2, 2010 in City

Car hurtles into pole in South Hill crash

Driver critically injured
By The Spokesman-Review
 
Dan Pelle photo

Rachel Popham gives comfort to a 11-month-old child who was involved in a one-car accident near the corner of 32nd Avenue and Ray Street on Thursday. Popham said she heard the accident and came to assist the father and three children in the overturned car.
(Full-size photo)(All photos)

A driver was in critical condition and his three children were injured Thursday after he lost control of his car, which vaulted into a telephone pole before coming to rest on its top near 32nd Avenue and Ray Street.

Spokane Police and Fire officials did not release the identity of the driver, who was rushed to Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center. The cause of the 2:19 p.m. crash remains under investigation.

Joseph Maine, 22, and his 20-year-old brother, Danny Murinko, said they were working in their backyard when they heard the driver accelerate while driving a Dodge Stratus northbound on Ray.

“All of the sudden, the car veered into those bushes. He hit, bounced and then slammed into the telephone pole,” Maine said. “Hearing those little kids screaming. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. I almost wanted to cry.”

Maine, Murinko and others rushed to the car and were able to reach the 11-month-old child. But two older girls didn’t have room to get out of the car, which was partially pinned on top of the unconscious father.

Needing room, Maine ran home and brought back a 3 ½ ton hydraulic jack which he used to lift the car enough to get the older two girls, ages 7 and 4, out of the car.

Spokane police taped off half a block to investigate the crash.

Maine said the car was airborne when it hit the pole. It basically hit in the middle of the roof and then spun around the pole, Maine said. Paramedics quickly arrived and were able to find a pulse on the 24-year-old father before transporting him.

“The girls said they were on their way to pick up their mother who was at the tanning salon. Being a father of two, myself, I was so worked up,” Maine said. “I couldn’t believe it was happening.”

Murinko said he stayed with the children as Maine ran the half-block home to get the jack.

“As soon as we got the jack, we got those kids out,” he said. “All we were trying to do was save those kids.”

Assistant Chief Brian Schaeffer said all three children appeared to have escaped with just minor injuries, but they were transported to a hospital as a precaution. “The kids seemed to be OK, but they were scared,” Schaeffer said.


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