SALEM — Fire crews worked for about 40 minutes to extricate a man from a box truck after it collided with a woodchipper being trailed by a landscaping company truck Wednesday on Interstate 93 in Salem.
The box truck driver was seriously injured and was taken by MedFlight to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, according to Salem Fire Capt. Craig Lemire. State police identified him as Luis Oscar Ruiz, 45, of Central Falls, R.I.
The entire highway was closed while Ruiz was evacuated, police said.
The fire department was dispatched at 1:22 p.m. Wednesday to the southbound side of the highway between Exits 1 and 2.
Lemire said State Police are investigating the crash.
State Police said in a release Thursday morning that the landscaping truck, driven by Chaka Puckerin, 42, of Lowell, Mass., experienced a mechanical issue and slowed quickly while trying to each the breakdown lane. The box truck hit it from behind, police said.
“There was significant damage to the box truck front end,” Lemire said.
Ruiz was trapped inside his truck when first responders arrived.
Lemire said it took nearly 40 minutes to extricate Ruiz, who suffered serious injuries. Emergency responders used cutters and spreaders to get access and they rolled back the dashboard of the truck with the help of heavy equipment provided by Woody’s Auto Repair and Towing of Pelham.
“He was conscious and alert the entire time,” Lemire said of the driver.
A female passenger was taken to Lawrence General Hospital in Lawrence, Mass.
Puckerin was taken to Holy Family Hospital in Methuen, Mass., State Police said.
A third passenger vehicle was involved, which Lemire said suffered only moderate damage. The driver of the third vehicle was uninjured, Lemire said.
Three lanes of travel were shut down for approximately two hours while troopers processed the scene, State Police said. The entire interstate was shut down for approximately an hour to allow the Medivac helicopter to land, load Ruiz, and then take off.