VERMILION, OH – Minutes after an accused drunk driver went off the road and over a cliff in Vermilion, police officer scaled the hill to rescue her and her passenger.
FOX8 News obtained police body camera video from the crash that shows the chaotic scene officers and rescue personnel had to deal with.
The driver lost control around a curve on Vermilion Road, ran off the road and then went 50 feet over a cliff. The driver tried to get out of the car and then fell another 50 feet down. You can hear officers trying to get the driver to calm down.
“You’ve been strong up to this point, let’s be strong now,” the officer tells her.
Vermilion Police Chief Chris Hartung says officers’ training kicked in during the dark moments on the ridge.
“That’s why it’s imperative that you focus on what’s the first thing that you’ve got to do and say, just let the noise on the side drown out and focus on what the mission is,” explained Chief Hartung.
Officers had to carefully stabilize the driver and then get her secured so they could bring her up the hill.
“What I need you to do is just relax, don’t move because I’m afraid if you did some kind of injury to your neck, if you pinched a nerve you could, you know, become paralyzed or something,” the officer told the driver.
A coordinated effort by police and fire used ropes, cords and a basket to finally get the woman to an ambulance.
“The focus had to be on stabilizing the victim, rescuing the individual and then the investigation comes after that,” Hartung said.
The driver is now charged with OVI. The chief says the video should be a warning to others.
“These individuals, regardless of what happens in the court system, got a second chance and hopefully they take advantage of that but let it be a lesson, drinking and driving just isn’t worth it,” he said.