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Skiing, black ice, the unknowns

03/06/2008

By George Bargamian

After a day of skiing with family at Stowe on Sunday, February 17, our family headed back to our Sugarbush condo after dinner around 8:30 p.m. As we drove Route 100 south through Waterbury into Duxbury we noticed the roads were becoming slick with freezing rain. Suddenly the stretch of road going up a hill became one big sheet of black ice which paralyzed all traffic.

We were helplessly stuck on the right side of the road with another car stuck 50 feet in front. A car was coming down the hill towards us sliding within inches of our car, careening off the snowbank behind us to the opposite snowbank spinning the car around. Then another car came down spinning sideways, hitting the car in front of us.

All this time I was on the phone with the state police dispatcher describing the scene. Initially nobody was injured but a few minutes later the cars ahead shouted that the driver of the car that was hit was suffering a heart attack. My wife, who is a doctor, rushed to give CPR. All emergency vehicles were having a difficult time navigating the roads. Finally several medics arrived relieving my wife of CPR and inserted a tube to help with breathing. After some time, the ambulance arrived. The road was so slick that we had to form a human chain of locking arms to prevent the medical staff from falling while trying to lift the woman in the ambulance.

During this ordeal, which exceeded two hours, we were left wondering of all the unknowns of a brief encounter where everybody, though strangers, worked cohesively with the common goal of trying to save a woman urgently in need of medical care. There was the woman. There was her son's brother-in-law who was assisting. There were two other drivers who also were stuck who were assisting. There were the medics who came to the scene and did an outstanding job. There was the off-duty firefighter who lived up the street who offered assistance. There were the two police officers, a man and woman, who were professional and courteous. There was the ambulance staff who gave the victim the necessary medicine for her diabetes. And finally the state police dispatcher who was calm and collected throughout.

Most of us were strangers yet we were all part of a team for two hours working together towards a common goal. The next morning we awoke not knowing any of the names of our team yet feeling so connected to them throughout the ordeal. Though a bit shaken by this bout with Mother Nature, each member of our team has moved on separately in the unknown leaving only memories of a frightening ordeal.

Bargamian lives in Warren.
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