NORTH FORK – A drive home from Atascadero ended with a trip to the hospital for a North Fork woman on Saturday.
Just after 1 p.m. on Feb. 1, Delores Haddon, 75, was just a mile or two from home when she crashed her nearly-new Subaru Outback in front of Hillside Baptist Church. But luck was actually on her side.
Delores was northbound on Road 200 approaching Wyle Ranch Road and the left-hand curve in front of the church, when for unknown reasons, she failed to negotiate the turn and went straight instead, driving up onto the lawn.
She believes she then hit the accelerator instead of the brake, causing her to careen up a steep hill, flying some 15 feet into the air, clearing a thick stand of trees and landing upside down in dense brush. All the airbags deployed and pieces of the car scattered everywhere.
The hill appears to have served as a ramp, launching her over the thick tree trunks, which may have been deadly had she hit them head-on.
Dustin Evans and Alissa Albert, both of North Fork, were passing by the church in the opposite direction just as the crash happened.
“We saw the car go off the road, and it just flew over those trees,” said Alissa. She and Dustin called 911, and went to help Delores, who was hanging upside down in her seatbelt.
Had the two young people not seen the crash happen, it is doubtful anyone passing by later would have either. The car was completely hidden in the trees.
When Engine #11 arrived, Delores was sitting on the ground talking with Dustin and Alissa, both of whom were stunned that she had barely a scratch. She did however, have some pain in her hip, and after first responders from the North Fork Volunteer Fire Department check her over, Sierra Ambulance arrived on scene to prepare her for transport to St. Agnes to be evaluated.
“Well, she almost made it home,” said her husband who had hurried to the scene from their place off Bonnie B Road. And when Delores told him that she had wrecked his new car, he had the perfect answer – “It’s just a car,” he told her.
North Fork’s Squad #11 responded along with Cal Fire Engine #4275 from the Rancheria Station, and CHP.