KANE – Like a 40-ton missile, a fully-loaded log truck careened out-of-control Saturday morning and sliced into a wood-frame house on Route 66 in the Ten Commandments area just south of Kane.
Miraculously, the truck driver and four people inside the house were not seriously injured.
The truck driver—Thomas L. Jashurek, 39, of Kane—was taken from the scene by Emergycare ambulance and immediately placed on a medical helicopter at the landing pad at Kane Community Hospital.
He was flown to the Hamot Medical Center in Erie where he was admitted. He was listed in “stable” condition at the hospital as of Sunday afternoon. State Police reported that Jashurek sustained “moderate” injuries.
There were four people in the Bruce Peterson residence at 5976 Route 66 in Wetmore Township when the two-story house was struck about 9:15 a.m. Saturday. No one inside was seriously injured, State Police said.
The occupants included Peterson, his wife Debbie, their 26-year-old daughter, Ashley Peterson and a 2-year-old granddaughter, Kianna Jones. Peterson and his granddaughter, who will turn three years old next month, were together in an upstairs bathroom brushing their teeth when the house was hit.
Members of the Kane Volunteer Fire Department used a ladder to rescue Peterson and his granddaughter from the second floor of the severely-damaged structure.
Ashley Peterson and her mother were on the first floor at the time of the impact. When the heavy truck crushed the first floor, Ashley ended up in the basement beneath the truck and had to crawl out through debris. Debbie Peterson ended up in the kitchen and was freed.
Emergycare ambulance transported the women to Kane Community Hospital with “minor injuries,” State Police said. They were “treated and released,” police said.
After the impact with the north side of the house, the truck came to rest inside with about a third protruding outside. The south side of the house was buckled out by the jarring impact and was left barely standing.
The real drama began when Kane Fire Chief Tim Holt and several other brave volunteer firefighters cautiously entered the splintered-filled unstable house to extricate Jashurek, who was pinned inside the cab of the heavily-damaged truck.
Holt said the rescue team could hear creaking sounds from unstable wood as they worked to free the truck driver. He said the log truck's loader-- called a "cherry-picker"-- and the load of logs kept the second floor from crashing down.
Using special tools, the firefighters removed the passenger’s side door to reach Jashurek, who was “conscious, but disoriented,” Holt said. Firefighters had to remove the passenger’s side seat and shear off foot pedals to free the driver’s feet, Holt said.
The fire chief estimated that it took 45 minutes to free Jashurek. Bruce Peterson believes it took even longer to extricate Jashurek.
Firefighters placed the injured driver on a backboard and removed him from the shattered house to a waiting ambulance, Holt said.
State Police Trooper Doug Wolbert, who investigated the incident, said in his report that Jashurek was wearing a "lap and shoulder belt."
Because the house was considered a total loss and in a hazardous condition, Chittester Excavating of Kane was called to complete the demolition of the building. Bruce Peterson said the remainder of his house fell down just after it was "barely touched" by the excavation equipment.
Pick up a copy of the Monday, Feb. 20, 2012 edition of The Ridgway Record for more.