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Highway collision sends 6 to hospital
"Logan McInerney (left) and Langley Police Officer Laura Price give aid to an infant hurt in an automobile accident Saturday afternoon.Matt Johnson / staff photoA vehicle that apparently crossed the center line on Highway 525 near Bayview Saturday afternoon struck two minivans in the opposite lane in a collision that sent six people to the hospital, four of them by helicopter to Harborview .According to the Washington State Patrol, Samuel Grimm, 25, of Langley was driving northbound on Highway 525 at 2:55 p.m. near the intersection with Marshview Avenue when he accidentally steered his 1984 Dodge 600 into the southbound lane. The car struck two vehicles in that lane - a 1996 Plymouth Voyager driven by Diane Bailey, 58, of Oak Harbor and a 2000 Chevrolet Astro van driven by Victoria Madigan, 41, of Greenbank.According to the State Patrol, the first collision was a glancing blow between the two vehicles, but the second collision was almost head-on at highway speeds.When law enforcement and Fire District 3 personnel arrived on scene, they found that the drivers and passengers in the Astro van and the Dodge were trapped due to extensive damage to the driver's-side doors of both vehicles. FD 3 rescuers concentrated their first efforts on Grimm's Dodge. Of the eight people involved in the accident, Grimm was the only one who was not wearing a seatbelt. He suffered injuries to the face, head, spine, and hip when the steering wheel, console, and driver's-side door were smashed inward and upward in the crash.The FD 3 volunteers spent more than 15 minutes tearing the car open with the Jaws of Life to extract Grimm and three children, Cameron Leese, Nathan Reynolds-Grimm, and Lyon Reynolds-Grimm, from the car. Removing Grimm from the car proved to be the most difficult task. After rescue personnel had removed the car door, volunteer Eldon Baker climbed inside and pushed the injured man through the passenger's door while lying across the front seat. At the same time, Langley Police Officer Laura Price worked with FD 3's Logan McInerney and John Cruz to remove two children from the back seat of the car. The youngest of the children, an infant, was restrained in a child seat at the time of the accident.All four of the Dodge's occupants were stabilized at the accident scene, then transported by helicopter to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. Due to the severity of the accident, two helicopters were landed on the highway near Whidbey Telephone Company. As of Monday, Grimm was reported to be in serious condition, while the children riding in his car had already been released from the hospital.With Grimm free, the Jaws of Life were then used on the Astro van. Madigan and her passenger, Eddie Johns, 20, of Mount Vernon, were not seriously injured in the accident, but did have to wait more than a half-hour before they could get out of their vehicle. They were transported by ambulance to Whidbey General Hospital for treatment.Bailey, the driver of the Plymouth Voyager, was not hurt in the crash. Her passenger, Rebecca Nowacki, 52, of Vancouver, also escaped injury. They were able to drive their vehicle from the scene of the accident. The other two vehicles were totaled in the crash.The accident scene was blocked for about five hours while the State Patrol and a special unit from the Department of Transportation investigated. Traffic was detoured to Marshview and Bayview roads.Rescue personnel responded to a second accident in almost the same area Sunday. Two cars collided at the intersection of Highway 525 and Thompson Road at about 5 p.m. Three people were hurt in the collision and were transported to Whidbey General Hospital. No further information was available about the accident through the State Patrol, which was the investigating agency. "