December 23, 2004

Crash Leaves Lancaster Woman Trapped In Jeep Overnight

A Lancaster woman received her Christmas miracle a week early when a Scotland County Sheriff’s Deputy happened upon her accident scene early on the morning of December 18.

Deputy Bryan Whitney had stopped on the bridge five miles south of Memphis on Highway 15, near the roadside park, to pick up a bag of trash. He continued to review the area and peered over the side of the bridge. That’s when he discovered the accident scene.

“We’ve been receiving lots of reports of people dumping trash along the roadways lately,” Whitney said. “A friend called and reported seeing this debris along the roadway on his way to work so I stopped that morning to pick it up. I was just checking the area for more junk when I saw the vehicle.”

Whitney, who was off duty and in his private vehicle, flagged down a passing motorist who then called the sheriff’s department. At approximately 8:50 a.m. the ambulance service and fire department were dispatched to the crash scene along with the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

At that point, Keely Adkisson, 20, had been trapped, upside down in the remnants of her 1999 Jeep for more than eight hours. Temperatures dropped as low as 16 degrees in the early morning hours.

Upon arriving at the scene the Scotland County Fire and Rescue workers and the Scotland County Ambulance Service went to work extricating the injured motorist. From above on the bridge, firemen attached the metal cable on the front of the mini-pumper truck and used a winch to hoist the car slightly off the ground to give workers access to the passenger compartment of the vehicle. The Jeep’s roof was nearly completely flattened to the vehicle’s cab. Rescuers used a hydraulic ram to spread the roof from the body of the Jeep while using the Jaws of Life to cut away the door.

Once Adkisson was extricated from the wreckage, the ambulance crews worked to stabilize her before she was loaded into the Air Evac helicopter which had landed at the scene. Adkisson was transported by the air ambulance to Blessing Hospital in Quincy, IL, for treatment of what the accident report called “moderate” injuries, as well as exposure.

According to the Highway Patrol, the accident occurred at 12:15 a.m. Adkisson was apparently northbound on Highway 15 when the vehicle ran off the east side of the roadway where it struck the bridge rail and overturned before coming to rest on its top in the ravine below.

The accident scene was not visible to travelers from either direction and there were no skid marks or any other immediate signs that the crash had occurred.

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