Two people pinned for over an hour after big rig accident

HUNTERSVILLE, NC (WBTV) - Two people were pinned for over an hour after their semi truck careened out of control down a hill shutting down I-485 overnight.

It was like driving up on a nightmare.

"I saw this huge mass of metal to the right of me, and I looked back in my rear view mirror and realized it was a wreck."

Jennifer Bartlett was one of the first people to see the twisted wreckage of the semi truck around midnight, as it draped over the interstate on ramp.

"There was nobody here yet, no cops, no anyone. I just pulled my car over and just ran."

Bartlett said she rushed to the cab, and started talking to the woman who was pinned in the sleeper section.

"I just kept talking to the lady. She was having trouble breathing. I kept her breathing normal and asking her questions. She didn't remember."

Carter Thompson tried to rescue the couple, but he said they were trapped, and there was little he could do.

"I immediately started trying to wedge open their door." he said. "Anything I could, but after about 10 seconds I mean, just looking at it, there was just no way."

Bartlett said she was able to flag down a passing ambulance, who radioed in for help.

And help came running.

State Highway Patrol closed off I-485 around route 115 in Huntersville as firefighters raced to the scene.

Medical helicopters were also called in to help with the rescue.

EMS crews worked for over thirty minutes to pry the woman out of the back of the rig. She was hauled up the hill, loaded onto a chopper, and flown to Carolinas Medical Center.

Her fiancee's rescue would take more than twice that amount of time.

Rescue workers continued their efforts to help pull the driver out, who was dangling upside down for over an hour.

Finally, he was able to be pulled out, and was also Medivaced by helicopter to CMC. At last report, Medic said both people have life-threatening injuries.

Troopers said this all began when the tons of rolled paper the semi was hauling shifted, making the rig unbalanced, and toppling it over on a curve.

According to officials on the scene, the rolls were supposed to be "chalked", or locked into place, but it was obvious that wasn't the case.

The SHP said this is a regular problem when trucks haul these huge rolls. It's unclear if any citations will be issued.

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