Treacherous Sawkill had no rail to save her

| 18 Jun 2015 | 09:12

By Frances Ruth Harris
— Marion Foran was in her Toyota Camry, lying upside down in a ravine off Sawkill Road. She was able to unhook her seat belt or find her cell phone. When would she be found? she wondered.

"I could have died," she said of the April 1 accident. "The angels were with me."

She was approximately 15 to 20 feet down the embankment, in the woods. She called 911. She heard the dispatcher describe her accident as a "roll-over with entrapment." But the Pennsylvania State Police, emergency medical responders, and even her husband, Tom, drove right past the accident site as they looked for her. They didn't see her.

Foran called 911 a second time to say her searchers had passed her by.

Dave Ruby of Milford's Fire and Rescue team found her first. The Camry was a few feet from a stream, near a huge stone. She was covered with shattered glass. Yet, she emerged without a scratch.

The rescue workers pulled her through the driver's window. State troopers, EMTs and two state highway workers pulled her to the road with ropes secured to a plastic sled-like gurney as other responders pushed her from below. Once on top, the gurney began to slip down again. The rescuers grabbed the gurney in time and loaded it, and Foran, into the ambulance.

Road to ruinPeople who live or depend on Sawkill Road are desperate to have it repaved. The length is pitted with holes. Its edges are fraying, its surface disintegrating, its center buckling. They dread the likelihood that more accidents will happen. But the Milford office of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), starved of money, says they can't answer all of Pike County's needs in a timely way. Officials there recently agreed to fill the deepest potholes this year, but the guardrail that could have prevented Foran from sailing off road will remain missing.

Foran's back pain eased after a few weeks of rest and pain pills. She said she feels fine now.

Her car insurance has gone up. She lost her well-tended, late-model car, which her mechanic said was in mint condition. She bought a new car, complete with the car payments she didn't have before the accident.

Foran says she's driven up and down Sawkill Road thousands of times in the past 25 years. Usually she drives down the middle, to avoid its slant. When it's snowy or icy, she uses Christian Hill Road. But on the day of her accident, there was no ice or snow that day anywhere — except in the one spot that sent her car careening off road. When she tried to regain control by pulling to the right, the car just flew, with no guard rail to stop it.

"It is so sad because it seems like there has to be a loss of life before something is done," Foran said.

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