Maynard Vining of Charlotte was a very lucky man on Friday, February 8, when four people came to his aid and saved his life. Following an accident in Baring, Vining was trapped in the cab of his 22-wheeler semi-trailer truck when the Good Samaritans who happened upon the scene pulled him free, moments before the cab exploded.
At approximately 10:30 a.m., Vining was traveling toward Route 1 on Route 191 when a car that was traveling toward him came partly onto his side of the road. Trying to avoid the car, Vining was forced off the road and over an embankment. He continued driving for several hundred feet in the ditch and over a road and eventually made his own path for 200 to 300 feet into the woods. The truck took down perhaps two to three cords of wood.
Roberta and Wayne Seeley of Edmunds, who are EMTs with the Dennys River Ambulance, were on their way to Calais when they saw smoke in the woods and "green stuff" in the road, pieces of softwood tips from the trees disturbed by the truck. Wayne saw the truck and went down over the embankment to investigate, and from the side of the road Roberta called 9-1-1 on her cell phone. The operator told her to stay on the phone until the rescue was completed. Roberta could not move from the spot to go to the scene as cell service might be lost and help was needed.
When Wayne reached the truck, he thought that no one could survive such a crash. The truck and trailer were still upright and had not turned over. A fire was under the hood, which Wayne smothered with snow. The truck was covered with trees and branches, but when he yelled, an answer came. Wayne could not access the cab from the driver's side of the truck, as it was obstructed by a tree and branches, so he went to the passenger side. The door would not open; he needed something to break out the side window.
Richard Curtis and James Webb, also an EMT, of Alton stopped to help. One of the men had a fire extinguisher, which was used to break the side window of the truck. Vining tried to exit the truck through the newly broken window but could not get out. One of the men said they needed to get away from the truck as soon as possible, but Seeley said not until they got Vining out.
Seeley told Vining to extend his arms through the window, and the three men eventually were able to pull him free from the truck. Roberta Seeley says she was keeping the 9-1-1 operator informed of the situation as things progressed, and she was very relieved when word came that Vining was out of the truck.
As soon as the group of men had walked Vining a short distance from the truck, they heard it explode. Roberta told the operator there was an explosion and the truck was now on fire. The Baring Fire Department was called to the scene. The truck was completely destroyed, but the box trailer did not burn.
Vining was put in the Seeleys' car, and they attended to a deep cut under his eye. An ambulance arrived, and Vining was transported to the Calais Regional Hospital. The doctor said if the injury under his eye had been a fraction of an inch closer to his eye, he would be on a helicopter going to Boston. Vining was fully checked over, the wound stitched, and later that afternoon he was released to go home.
Roberta says she and Wayne do not usually go to Calais via Route 191 but had just decided to go that way on Friday. They are glad they decided on that route and that they were able to help.
Vining is grateful to all involved in saving his life.