Rescuers cut roof off SUV to free woman

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 21, 2011

By Shelley Smith
Todd Watson, assistant pastor of The River Church of God, was getting ready to turn onto U.S. 52 off Anthony Road when he heard a crash and saw an airborne vehicle fly across the intersection toward his church van.
The SUV rolled onto its side, hitting a utility pole and snapping it at the base. Watson backed into a driveway and ran over to the crumpled vehicle.
Louise Dulkoski, 79, of China Grove, and Doris Dick, 73, of Salisbury were inside the SUV, a Nissan Rogue. Dulkoski, the driver, was able to get out of the car with the help of Watson and another man. But Dick was trapped, and Watson said she looked like she was going to pass out.
Watson said he grabbed her hand and prayed with her, trying to keep her awake until emergency responders arrived.
“They found out I was a pastor and they asked me to pray for them, and I said, ‘Well, I’ve already done that. God is already here,’ ” Watson said.
Members of the Rowan County Rescue Squad, Rockwell and Rockwell Rural fire departments worked to stabilize the SUV. The broken utility pole leaned on the SUV, the only thing that kept it from falling onto the highway.
Rescuers cut off the roof of the SUV to free Dick, and then they put her in an ambulance. She was then flown to Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center where she was in stable condition Friday night.
Dulkoski was taken to Rowan Regional Medical Center for minor injuries, and remained there Friday night.
Dulkoski and Dick were traveling toward Salisbury on U.S. 52 shortly after 11 a.m. Friday.
Linda Brown, 61, driving a Honda Odyssey, drove across the highway from Crescent Road and her van clipped the back left bumper of Dulkoski’s Nissan, N.C. Trooper Eric Perdue said.
Brown was cited for failure to yield the right of way. She was not injured.
Duke Energy had to install a new utility pole, and more than four employees were at the scene. A Windstream employee was also there to check the damages to the pole.
“The pole is what saved them,” Watson said. “That’s what kept them from rolling over.”
Contact Shelley Smith at 704-797-4246.