HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - An Alabama man was trapped in his car for two hours Wednesday morning after a crash on I-10. But thanks to his seatbelt, and the efforts of rescue crews, he only suffered moderate injuries.
The accident happened around 1:50am at the 25 mile marker, north of Pass Christian. Investigators said the 2008 Volkswagen Jetta lost control, went off the roadway, and hit a tree near the driver's side door.
The driver, 56-year-old William Bradford of Thomasville, AL, was trapped inside the vehicle for nearly two hours while Harrison County and Pass Christian Fire and Rescue worked to cut him out. Eventually, a rescue team from the Air National Guard Base in Gulfport arrived to assist in the rescue.
You see, rescuers needed a specialized piece of equipment to cut and spread the metal of the severely damaged vehicle. Taking off the roof was the only way to get Bradford out of the vehicle.
The gear used is similar to equipment commonly known as "the jaws of life." It's part of the arsenal on hand at the Combat Readiness Training Center, which provide support to firefighters at Gulfport Biloxi International Airport.
Air National Guard spokesman Major Tim Powell told WLOX News the ANG has an immediate response agreement with local authorities that allows for state assistance.
"Everybody helps everybody, with one thing in mind, to save lives. In this case, it certainly worked," Powell said.
Powell added the ANG Base was the closest agency with the equipment needed for the rescue.
Bradford was taken to Garden Park Hospital with moderate injuries. Considering the severity of the crash, troopers said Bradford's seatbelt probably saved his life.