Two children among victims of South Rowan Avenue accident

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 18, 2013

SPENCER — Four people were killed — two adults and two children — when an SUV hit a tree Friday night and caught fire on South Rowan Avenue near 11th Street.
Five others were injured and taken to area hospitals, said Capt. Christopher Warr with Rowan County EMS, who was working as shift commander. Three were in critical condition Friday night, one had serious injuries and one was in stable condition.
“We activated our mass casualty and our triage plan for Rowan EMS,” he said.
Three helicopters were called in to transport injured juvenile victims, according to emergency reports. Two landed at Park Plaza and took patients to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.
A third helicopter went to Rowan Regional Medical Center to pick up another patient before heading to Carolinas Medical Center Main in Charlotte.
Warr said a total of nine people, including five children, were involved. No names were released Friday night, because officials had not notified family members.
An investigation into how the crash happened was still ongoing around 10:30 p.m.
Lt. Jeremi Carter with the Spencer Fire Department, who was working as incident commander, said the initial 911 call around 8:15 p.m. reported a single-vehicle accident with a vehicle on fire and multiple patients.
Spencer police arrived to see a fire burning in the black SUV, which had struck a tree to the side of the road. Carter said responders found people both inside and outside the SUV, and it wasn’t clear if any had been ejected.
“We took priority with extinguishing the fire inside the vehicle, as well as tending to patients that were in the roadway and on the side of the road at the time,” Carter said. “Then we worked on getting patients out of the vehicle.”
The whole process took more than two hours.
Carter said firefighters planned to talk to individuals from a critical incident stress debriefing team, which is called in for any “extremely stressful fatality,” especially those involving children.
Responding to the scene were Rowan County EMS, Rowan County Rescue Squad, the Spencer Fire Department, Millers Ferry Fire Department, Spencer Police Department, East Spencer Police Department and the Salisbury Police Department.