BELMONT — One driver died in a head-on collision on Route 107 early Tuesday morning.
Belmont Police Chief Mark Lewandoski said he was driving to work when he crested a hill in the area of 702 Province Road (Route 107) and encountered the aftermath of the violent crash, a sight that set his heart pounding.
“It’s not the way that you want to start your day,” he said.
As the chief approached the crash, a woman who had stopped was applying pressure to the head wound of the driver of a silver four-door Honda sedan. The woman was wearing rubber gloves, so he assumed she was in the medical field, he said.
The driver of the second vehicle, a Honda CR-V, was “entombed in his seat,” according to Lewandoski. The trapped teen driver told him he was a student at Gilford High School and was headed to class when the wreck happened shortly after 8 a.m.
Late Tuesday afternoon, police Capt. Rich Mann confirmed one person had died in the crash, but did not identify either driver.
According to Lewandoski, the Honda sedan was headed south when it drifted over the solid double yellow line and into the path of the oncoming Honda CR-V. The driver of the car was not wearing a seatbelt and the windshield showed evidence of being struck by his head. A shattered cellphone could be seen jutting from roadside snow.
With the temperature in the single digits, the chief offered to cover the young man in the Honda CR-V with a blanket but the teen declined, saying he was uncomfortable being trapped but otherwise all right.
“He was talking, but not making a lot of sense and I couldn’t get into the interior of the vehicle,” Lewandoski said.
The chief cut the youth’s seatbelt. Multiple air bags had deployed, and combined with the seatbelt, likely prevented him from suffering more severe injuries, Lewandoski said.
The driver of the car was rushed to Lakes Region General Hospital in Laconia and later flown by helicopter to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. The driver of the CR-V was treated at LRGH.
Belmont Fire Chief Mike Newall said his department was called to the scene at 8:22 a.m. Seeing the severity of the crash, firefighters immediately requested assistance from Laconia.
As Belmont firefighters used the “Jaws of Life” to cut the roof and doors off the CR-V so that medical personnel could remove the driver, firefighters from Laconia used hydraulic rescue tools to free the driver in the car.
Chief Newall was grateful for the mutual aid assistance. Over the weekend, his department had battled two multi-alarm fires and a spate of medical emergencies making for long days with little rest. Just four minutes after the crash was reported, a second ambulance was headed to the scene from nearby Gilmanton.
Province Road was closed for several hours while the Belknap Regional Accident Reconstruction Team photographed the scene and took measurements using a high-tech laser scanner.
The road was reopened to traffic about 2:30 p.m. after the wreckage was removed, crash debris picked up and drying agents used to absorb spilled oil and antifreeze was swept from the road.