SOUTH CHINA — A Windsor woman was taken by helicopter to the hospital with serious injuries Monday after the vehicle she was driving slammed into the rear end of an empty school bus parked on the shoulder of Route 3.
The Suzuki driven by Melissa Guilfoyle, of Windsor, was wedged beneath the Vassalboro School District bus so tightly that a crane had to be used to lift the rear end of the bus into the air before emergency responders could rescue Guilfoyle from her vehicle.
Officers flagged down the crane, which was from Augusta construction company Lajoie Bros., as it drove by on Route 3.
“That was the only way we were getting her out of there,” said Sgt. David Bucknam of the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office, one of several departments that responded to the scene.
Guilfoyle, described by police as being in her mid-30s, was treated in an ambulance and then airlifted to a hospital. Bucknam said her injuries appeared to be serious but not immediately life-threatening.
According to her LinkedIn profile, Guilfoyle is a registered nurse at VA Maine Healthcare Systems-Togus.
Minutes before the accident, bus driver David Jacques, who has been driving a school bus for 35 years, parked on Route 3’s eastbound shoulder. He went into Dollar Deals, a dollar store, to buy himself a soda. Jacques said that he was not on duty at the time.
Jacques and store cashier Michael Bray said they heard a loud bang around 2 p.m.
Bray called 911 while Jacques ran out to the his bus, grabbed a fire extinguisher and used it to put out a small fire in the engine compartment of the Suzuki.
With nearly the entire car crammed beneath the bus, he said it was impossible to tell who might be inside.
“I looked into the car and I couldn’t even see her,” he said. “I didn’t want to see.”
Bray said he heard no squeal of brakes before the impact, which was not as loud as he would have guessed once he saw the extent of the damage.
“I didn’t think anybody would live through it,” he said.
Bray said emergency responders were on the scene within three minutes. Officers flagged down the crane for help as it drove by on Route 3. The crane was attached to chains looped around the rear of the bus and lifted it free of the Suzuki.
Bucknam said no criminal charges have been filed in the case but that police were still investigating.
Traffic on Route 3 was rerouted around the accident from the time the accident happened until after the Suzuki was towed at 4 p.m.
In 2012, Guilfoyle received the Distinguished Nursing Student Award and also made the dean’s list, both at the University of Maine in Augusta. Her education is listed as Erskine Academy in South China and the University of Maine.