It took 32 rescuers to free the two victims of Saturday's early-morning crash on Christoffersen Parkway, both pinned into their car following the high-speed single vehicle accident.
According to the Turlock Fire Department, the incident occurred at 4:41 a.m. Saturday morning, with the road still wet from rain. Upon the Fire Department's arrival on-scene, firefighters found evidence of the high-speed impact of a car into a large tree on the California State University, Stanislaus campus.
A Turlock Police Department investigation found that the green Acura Integra left the Christoffersen Parkway roadway, struck a lightpole, went through a fence at CSU Stanislaus, and was partially airborne as it struck the tree roof-first. The engine flew from the car and was seen lying on the other side of the tree.
One passenger, Ashlee Deminsky, 16, a Turlock High School student, was ejected from the car through the rear window and sustained serious but non life-threatening injuries. She was transported to the hospital by ambulance, and released before 8 p.m. Sunday.
The driver, Robert Penton, 17, a Johansen High School student, and other passenger, Tyler Brown, 19, a 2013 Denair High School graduate and Deminsky's boyfriend, were “severely” pinned into the car from the crash, however.
Freeing Penton and Brown required an “extremely complicated and technical extrication,” according to the Turlock Fire Department. That extrication involved four Turlock Fire Department engine companies, Turlock Rural Fire, multiple ambulances, two air ambulances, a tow truck, and multiple Turlock Police Department and CSU Stanislaus police units.
Despite the numerous personnel, it took more than an hour hour to free the victims. The operation was made even more difficult by the frigid, approximately 37 degree air, the fire department said.
Both Brown and Penton were transported by air ambulance to area hospitals immediately upon being freed.
Brown is still in the hospital at Memorial Medical Center. He broke his femur, and underwent an extensive surgery to repair it according to Jodi McClure, Penton's mother.
Penton remains in critical condition in the Intensive Care Unit. He underwent successful cardiac surgery to repair a torn aorta, but is in a medically-induced coma to give his body time to heal. His femur is also broken, but it is in traction until doctors are able to repair it, McClure said.
“My son is still in ICU but he's hanging in there and so are we,” McClure said. “The next couple days will be crucial for him and we won't know more until … the swelling in his brain starts to heal.”
Penton is an automotive enthusiast, and a member of several Honda-related Facebook groups.
Turlock police say that drugs and alcohol were not a factor in the solo vehicle accident, but that speed “definitely was.” The Turlock Police Department Major Accident Investigation Team is investigating the case.
Photo: David Fransen