DUBLIN, N.H. (AP) - An 18-year-old driver who was seriously injured in a fiery collision with a tractor-trailer, caught on video, is home from the hospital earlier than expected and is embracing what he calls a second chance at life.
Samuel Lachance, of Manchester, tells WMUR-TV he has made a fast recovery, thanks to the support of his parents and community. Doctors thought Lachance would be hospitalized for at least six to eight months after the Jan. 22 crash on Route 101 in Dublin.
Lachance was flown to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston with a collapsed lung and other injuries.
“Burns on my hands. My spleen was gone. I had a big wound on my leg, fractured left foot,” he said.
He spent about three weeks in therapy at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital. Nurses called him “the miracle kid” because of how fast he recovered, he said.
Police said Lachance, a Keene State College student, was driving his Jeep westbound on Route 101 toward Keene when it crossed the centerline and struck the eastbound tractor-trailer truck. The impact caused the truck’s fuel tank to rupture, causing a fire.
Dublin Police Chief Tim Suokko said in a news release Wednesday that there was no evidence to suggest that speed, impairment, or distracted driving were factors. He added, “it was more likely than not caused by the operator falling asleep or losing consciousness while driving. No charges have been filed at this time.”
The crash was caught on the dashcam of a father and son who were traveling behind Lachance and ran into his Jeep. The two and another man ran to his rescue and helped pull him from the car.
“The video shows that when they hit my car, it knocked me out of the big ball of fire, and that prevented me from burning to death, basically,” Lachance said. He added, “I’m so incredibly thankful, because they saved my life.”
The town of Dublin is organizing a gathering next week so Lachance can meet them.
Information from: WMUR-TV, http://wmur.com
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