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Horsewoman thrown, airlifted to hospital

June 17, 2011
By KATIE SCHWENDEMAN - Staff Writer , Review

CALCUTTA - A woman thrown from her horse in Beaver Creek State Park needed a medical airlift to a Youngstown hospital Thursday.

St. Clair Township Patrolman Jim Briggs said the department was notified of the accident and responded to the Horseman's Camp on Sprucevale Road around 12:30 p.m.

The Calcutta and Glenmoor volunteer fire departments also responded, and Calcutta Assistant Fire Chief Dave McCoy used a four-wheeler to help Briggs and emergency first-responders reach the injured woman who was found on the Blue Trail about a half mile into the wooded area, Briggs said.

Trudy Smitts, 56, of Ashland, was riding her horse on the trail with a female friend when she was thrown, he added.

The woman with her immediately notified 911, and dispatch contacted the local departments.

Because the women were back in the wooded area, those at the camp were unaware of the accident, Briggs said.

McCoy said a man with whom he attended high school several years ago just happened to be at the camp and helped the department locate the women.

"I went all the way around the Blue Trail and caught up to Briggs and the man who was helping him because he knew the trails," he said.

Both men were searching on foot, and McCoy was the only one an ATV, Briggs said.

McCoy was able to transport Briggs to Smitts using the ATV.

"Where they were, you couldn't get a four-wheel drive in there. I tried to stabilize her until the paramedics arrived," Briggs said.

He also said Smitts was complaining of neck and back pain and possibly had a broken arm.

She was having trouble breathing and appeared dizzy, McCoy said.

A Stokes basket was attached to the ATV, and Smitts was transported to the area of Gretchen's Lock where a North Star Critical Care ambulance was waiting, Briggs and McCoy said.

Smitts was then transported back to the Horseman's Camp where a STAT MedEvac helicopter provided a medical airlift to St. Elizabeth Hospital in Youngstown, Briggs said.

Officials cleared from the scene around 2 p.m., he added.

McCoy said the rescue was slightly similar to a mock search-and-rescue effort the in which the department was involved on May 28.

On that day McCoy also used an ATV to reach a person who was "injured" in a wooded area of the park not far from Gretchen's Lock.

The department, along with local emergency first responders and a park ranger, were helping Boy Scout Troop 41 earn disaster preparedness merit badges.

"Every time you are in the park you learn the park, you see the changes and you get familiar with the trails. We got the job done ... every training helps," he said.

He also said he was unsure what caused the horse to throw Smitts since the area where they were riding was flat, with few trees or rocks around.

"It was the nicest spot possible. I don't have a clue what caused the horse to do that. The trail was as wide as a vehicle there," he said.



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