SPRINGFIELD—On Oct. 23, just after midnight, Vermont State Police received a 911 phone call reporting a single-vehicle crash on Interstate 91, near mile marker 45 northbound, in Springfield, Vt. The caller advised a vehicle crashed into trees in the median and was now on fire.
Upon the arrival of troopers, the vehicle, a 2008 Chrysler Sebring, was fully engulfed in flames and there were several small explosions. The operator, Gene Farnham, age 66 of Claremont, N.H., had been removed from the large fire engulfing his vehicle and brought across the interstate.
According to witnesses, Marie Lajoie and her father, Michael Lajoie, both of Maryland, stopped their vehicle when they saw the flames coming from the hood of Farnham’s car, in the median of the Interstate. As they approached, they could hear Farnham inside the vehicle asking for help. They were unable to see anyone inside due to the large amount of smoke inside the passenger compartment.
Farnham was unable to unlock his doors or put his windows down; however, Michael Lajoie was able to break the rear passenger side window. Both Lajoies dragged Farnham from the burning vehicle moments before it became fully engulfed in flames. The Lajoies’ quick thinking and selfless actions, which placed them in harm’s way, undoubtedly saved Farnham’s life.
Officer Steven Neilly of the Springfield Police Department arrived shortly after the Lajoies had removed Farnham and assisted in moving him further away from the burning wreckage and across the interstate. Farnham was transported to the Springfield Emergency with non-life threatening injuries.
The Vermont State Police are continuing to investigate the cause of the crash. Anyone who may have witnessed the incident is asked to contact Trooper Ryan Wood of the Vermont State Police, Rockingham Barracks at 802-875-2112.