At 3:20 this afternoon, the 44-year-old woman was westbound along Road 432 “hurrying to get back to work,” according to her rescuers.
As she came around the corner at Paha, about one-half mile west of The Pines Resort, a witness say she drifted across the double yellow line and over-corrected.
“She wasn’t really driving fast,” said Ilan Perkins, one of the five men who were working on the dead trees among the homes lining the lake. “Maybe 30 miles-an-hour or so.”
Perkins said he saw her come around the corner and cross the center line, but once she veered back into her own lane, she never could regain control on the wet roadway.
The car swerved several times before hitting a large stump on the left side of the road and rolling down over the steep embankment, said Perkins. A group of large boulders stopped the downhill progress of the 2000 Kia Sportage, keeping it from rolling all the way down the hill.
Within seconds of the crash, the five tree workers had raced to the scene and down the embankment to render aid to the driver, who was reportedly drifting in and out of consciousness.
As part of their dangerous work topping and falling trees, these men are trained in CPR and aerial rescue, so were able to quickly evaluate the accident victim and relay information to EMS and CHP who were at scene in minutes. They also called the woman’s family to let them know what had happened.
Terry Dawson, one of the tree workers who rushed to aid the driver — suffering some minor injury himself on the steep hill — was just glad the woman was not more seriously injured.
“You hate to see this kind of thing happen to anyone,” said Dawson. “You don’t think about it, you just get in there and help.”
The men were told they could knock off for the day after the accident and their rescue efforts.
“This is definitely not how we planned to finish out the day,” said Perkins.
Ilan Perkins is from Tennessee; Zack Glinski, James Dowling and Brandon Rebensky are from Melborne, Florida; and Terry Dawson is from South Carolina.