A Duxbury police officer is lucky to have only minor injuries following a car accident Wednesday that destroyed his cruiser.
Sgt. Dennis Symmonds suffered only bruises and cuts following a collision with a 1998 Jeep Cherokee on Bay Road around 5:30 p.m. According to town police, Symmonds was responding to an accident call on Route 53 with his emergency lights and siren activated when his cruiser was struck near Wadsworth Road by the Jeep driven by Jill VanLenten, 44, of Marshfield.
Duxbury police said that VanLenten claimed not to have seen the vehicle and admitted to reading a map and directions while she was traveling on Bay Road. As the cruiser went to pass VenLenten’s vehicle, she made an abrupt left turn, striking the cruiser and forcing both cars to lose control. While VanLenten’s vehicle spun around facing the wrong direction and losing its front bumper, Symmonds’ cruiser went off the road, striking a tree.
VanLenten was able to walk away from the accident, but members of the Duxbury Fire Department had to use the jaws of life to extract Symmonds from his vehicle. He could be heard screaming as emergency personnel finally freed him from the wreckage and got him into an ambulance.
A MedFlight helicopter landed in the Bay Farm area of town to transport Symmonds to Brigham and Women’s hospital to tend to his injuries.
“We did that as a precaution because of the condition of the vehicle,” said Lt. Chip Chubb of the Duxbury Police Department. “The assumption was that he could have internal injuries or something seriously wrong.”
Chubb said that Symmonds was discharged from Brigham and Women’s on Thursday having sustained only bumps, bruises and cuts as a result of the collision. Symmonds has been a town employee for 30 years, including five years with the fire department and the last 25 with the police. Chubb said there is no definite date for Symmonds’ return to duty.
The section of Bay Road from Wadsworth Road to Soule Avenue remained closed to traffic for over four hours after the accident so police could conduct their investigation and the road could be cleared of debris.
On Monday, Chubb said that there were no witnesses to the incident and that all of the reports have been filed. VanLenten has been cited with two civil charges: failure to yield to an emergency vehicle ($100 fine) and impeded operation ($35) for reading while she was driving.