Published July 25, 2019

NORTH READING — Seven occupants of a Dodge Caravan escaped serious injury in a rollover accident on Park Street Tuesday morning.

The roads were slick from rain shortly after 10 a.m. when the minivan went off the road, over a guardrail and down a 6-foot embankment, landing upside down in a cement culvert on Park Street, a short distance from the Central Street intersection.

According to Police Chief Michael P. Murphy and Fire Chief Don Stats, the North Reading Police and Fire Departments responded to the single-vehicle crash at 10:22 a.m. near 209 Park St. after witnesses reported it.

Upon arrival, first responders located the 2017 Dodge Caravan overturned in the culvert alongside the road where the vehicle had came to rest on its roof in three to four inches of water.

THE 2017 DODGE CARAVAN is carefully lowered to the ground after being hoisted from a cement culvert with a crane by Coady’s Towing following a rollover accident near 209 Park St. Detective Lt. Tom Romeo (foreground) observes the extrication. The accident remains under investigation.

The seven occupants – six passengers and a male operator – were freed from the van and all were subsequently transported to Lahey Hospital and Medical Center in Burlington with injuries that are not believed to be life threatening. Five removed themselves and two were assisted but all were ambulatory once out of the van, Chief Stats said.

“This was a serious crash but fortunately not a tragic one,” Chief Murphy said in a statement. “Two residents who saw the crash wasted no time in acting to help the passengers inside the van, and I want to thank them for the important role they played in helping emergency personnel bring everyone to safety.”

A preliminary investigation indicates that the van was traveling east on Park Street (Route 62) when it left the roadway and struck a guard rail, causing it to roll over and ultimately come to rest upside down in the culvert.

Two witnesses to the crash supported the work of first responders at the scene prior to the arrival of the initial first responders’ crew.

“I want to express my gratitude to our firefighters and police officers for their measured, professional response to a hectic scene, as well as to the bystanders who selflessly contributed to the effort to extricate the individuals inside the vehicle,” Chief Stats stated.

The crash remain under investigation. The area remained closed for while a crew from Coady’s Towing of Lawrence brought in specialized equipment to lift the vehicle out of the ditch and place it upside down on a flatbed tow truck. Video footage of the removal operation taken by Al Pereira of Advanced Photo is posted on the Transcript’s Facebook page.