A Columbia couple in their 80s had to be extricated from their overturned sport utility vehicle after colliding with a minivan in north Columbia on Friday morning.
The accident occurred near Clark Lane and the U.S. 63 connector around 11:22 a.m. According to police and witnesses, Robert Rodenbaugh, 87, was driving east in an SUV when he turned left across Clark Lane into the path of a minivan driven by Mary Ann Williamson, 57, causing the minivan to smash into the passenger side of Rodenbaugh’s vehicle. Rodenbaugh’s wife, Katherine, 83, was riding in the car.
The SUV rolled onto its roof, trapping Rodenbaugh and his wife inside.
Jody Herron, of Hallsville, witnessed the accident from her car and called police, who she said arrived within minutes.
“If I’d left a few minutes earlier, I’d probably have been under that car,” she said, her own car parked only a few yards from the accident.
Adam Withrow was sitting in his car in the McDonald’s drive-through across the street when he heard the vehicles slam into each other, he said. He and several other bystanders rushed to push the minivan away from the driver’s side door of the SUV.
“Everyone was awake and conscious,” Withrow said of the passengers of both vehicles.
Two Quik Trip customers rushed to aid Rodenbaugh, whose head was apparently wedged between his seat and the roof of his vehicle, making it difficult for him to breathe.
Meanwhile, Columbia residents Diana and Stephen Orona tried to calm Williamson until officers arrived. Dozens of curious bystanders crowded around as ambulances, fire engines and other law enforcement vehicles arrived on the scene.
The drivers of both vehicles were taken by ambulance to University Hospital for treatment of moderate injuries. It took six or more firefighters about half an hour to extricate Katherine Rodenbaugh from the crunched SUV. Onlookers clapped as she was freed.
According to University Hospital, all victims were in fair condition as of 4:30 p.m. Friday.
Many in the crowd agreed that the strip of fast-food restaurants, which is right off two busy highways, is a dangerous area.
“This happens all the time,” said Justin Morris, who lives off Clark Lane. “Something needs to be done.”