MANCHESTER -- Two men were critically hurt when a driver lost control of his car on Bridge Street Extension, drove into a guardrail, bounced off, and flew some 70 feet into a stand of trees late Friday night.
The men were trapped in the vehicle for some 15 minutes as rescue crews worked to free the paid from the wreckage.
District Fire Chief Al Poulin told the New Hampshire Union Leader at the scene that the passenger in the Dodge Charger was removed first, but rescue crews had to cut the roof off the vehicle in order to remove the driver.
The two were taken to Elliot Hospital, where a trauma team had been alerted and was standing by.
Initial reports from the scene indicated that there were two people trapped in the car and that it was on fire.
A neighbor, Edmund George, sprinted to the scene with a fire extinguisher which he used to put down the clouds of what appeared to be smoke. Officials said later that what appeared to be smoke may have been the powder in which air bags are stored to enable them to pop open quickly when activated.
According to an initial assessment by officials at the scene, the driver apparently was heading down Bridge street when he lost control of the car and hit a guard rail next to a brook just before Ohio Avenue.
"Apparently he hit the guardrail, rolled over and flew in the air about 70 feet," Poulin said. "He umped over a brook and then hit the second guardrail and crashed."
Neighbors said they were startled by sound of the multiple impacts.
"I heard a loud crash, the sound came right through the window, it was like a tunnel," said neighbor Gail Manning.
Another neighbor said it sounded like the too-familiar sounds she occasionally hears from accidents on Interstate 93 a short distance away.
"We how how it sounds when there is a crash on the highway," said April Broderick. "I honestly thought it was a tractor-trailer crash on the highway, it was that loud."
The Charger was demolished in the crash, and Poulan praised the rescue workers who worked to free the two men.
"It was a great effort by the guys on Engine 10 and Rescue 1," Poulan said.
The car involved in the crash had temporary, 20 day license tags, suggesting the vehicle had recently been purchased from a licensed dealer.
The condition of the two crash victims was not immediately available.
Neighbors said there was a serious crash at the same intersection several years ago in which one person was killed.