SALISBURY – In what police and fire officials called an extremely lucky outcome, only one person was injured Wednesday morning after a man drove onto a Salisbury Square sidewalk along Route 1 south and traveled hundreds of feet before flipping the car on a grassy area near the Route 1/Pleasant Street intersection.
While the crash is still under investigation, police believe Douglas Kettlehone was behind the wheel of a Toyota sedan when it left Route 1 (Bridge Road) and crashed just across the street from Pat's Diner about 10:20 a.m. His injuries were minor.
"Very, very lucky," Salisbury police Lt. Robert Roy was overheard saying at the crash scene.
Salisbury Fire Chief Scott Carrigan agreed, telling a reporter it was extremely fortunate there were no pedestrians in the way.
"I don't think anyone in this neighborhood would expect a car to be driven on their front lawn – not something you expect to see in Salisbury Square," Carrigan said.
What caused Kettlehone to leave the road had not been determined, but police were looking into the possibility he suffered a medical emergency.
Tire impressions left on the grass could be seen for hundreds of feet and in one instance showed the car drove between a utility pole and a tree only a few feet apart. Right before the car flipped onto its side, it drove between a utility pole and the Bridge Road traffic light.
To get Kettlehone and his female passenger out of the car, firefighters cut away the windshield. The man and woman stood a few yards away from the smashed car as emergency medical technicians examined them. As a precaution, Kettlehone was transported to Anna Jaques Hospital in Newburyport for treatment.
A section of Route 1 south between the Gulf station and the Pleasant Street intersection was closed for more than an hour as the battered car was dragged onto a flat bed tow truck and hauled away.
A National Grid crew was called to the scene because it appeared the car took out support or guide wires near the intersection.
Staff writer Dave Rogers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @drogers41008.