Sunday, August 29, 2010


Elyria – Two men traveling east on Cleveland Street at a high rate of speed early Sunday morning lost control of the car, went off the left side of the road and slammed into a large utility pole – trapping both men.

It was just past 3 a.m. when the driver of the Lincoln first collided with a green passenger van that was also traveling east on Cleveland Street. The Lincoln then went left of center and struck the pole across from the Cleveland Street Salvation Army store.

An Elyria Police Officer on patrol rolled up on the crash moments after while the debris was still flying. He immediately requested LifeCare and Fire to the scene.

Elyria Firefighters and LifeCare Paramedics arrived on scene at 3:15 a.m.

Assistant Chief Ron Brlas of the Elyria Fire Department said the severe damage to the car posed many challenges for the extrication. “I think we ended up using every tool we have on the trucks to dismantle this car in order to safely remove the two victims.”

Firefighters cut, pulled, sawed and snipped away at the car for nearly two hours.

Knowing that extrication time would be extensive Brlas requested two helicopters to land near the scene. “We had two on the way and we had set up two separate landing zones but as we were doing that the driver was extricated from the car (3:42a.m.) then transported by LifeCare Paramedics to Elyria Memorial Emergency Room where the first helicopter crew met them.”

Once the driver was out of the car all of the Firefighter’s attention turned to the passenger. Brlas said that in his 31 years on the department he has never run up against extrication like this one. “We were all brainstorming as to the best way possible to get the passenger out quickly and at the same time safely. We even used Mug’s Towing service and this is the first time I have ever done something like that.”

The tow truck operator hooked chains to the driver’s side wheel and gently pulled the car off of the utility pole. This move opened up room for Firefighters to work on the passenger side of the car.

While all of this work was being performed Paramedics from LifeCare and the Medical Crew from Metro LifeFlight were inside of the car giving care to the trapped victim.

At 4:55 a.m. Firefighters extricated the passenger. He was then taken to a LifeCare ambulance where the medical team worked to prepare the victim for his flight to Cleveland. About 15 minutes later he was loaded into the awaiting helicopter and taken to MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland.

Both men left the scene in critical condition.

Elyria Police Investigators were on scene measuring and reconstructing the crash until just after 7 a.m.

Elyria Police received mutual aid assistance from North Ridgeville Police in keeping Cleveland Street blocked off during the incident.

The names of the victims have not yet been released.

WARNING: The photo gallery from this crash contains some graphic images


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