Upside down in a car, after texting while driving

Dec. 29, 2012 @ 08:56 AM

SHILOH — Rescue and emergency personnel worked more than an hour Friday afternoon to free Amelia Brooke Upton, 20, from the car she was driving off Cleghorn Mill Road in the Shiloh Community,

Upton, who was driving her sister's new Nissan Altima at 1:10 p.m.,  told North Carolina State Trooper Marty McSwain, she was texting while driving.  She escaped serious injury and was transported to Rutherford Regional Medical Center or treatment of cuts to her head. 

"She's pretty banged up," McSwain said, but was expected to be released from the hospital after treatment Friday.

Just about a mile from her home, Upton was traveling east on Cleghorn Mill Road, when she lost control of the car, traveled off the left side of the road,  went airborne before the car was wedged in a grove of trees. 

 McSwain said Upton told him she was texting and the next thing she knew "she was upside down."

Upton was not wearing a seat belt and when the car came to a rest, she was facing the rear of the car. 

Mike Tuccinardi said he was sitting in his garage reading the mail when he heard the car and witnessed it in the air before crashing.

"I've never seen him running so fast," his wife, Sharon said, describing him when he came into the house to call 911.

"I knew someone was hurt," he said.

Rutherford County's Emergency Medical Services director, Terry Ramsey, told Upton's mother, the accident was "one of those rare ones" that although she wasn't facing life threatening injuries, getting her free from the car was very time consuming. Because it wasn't life threatening, rescue personnel could take the time to safely remove from from the vehicle.

"She appears to be doing very well right now," he said to her mother at the scene.

Firefighters from SDO, Rutherfordton, Rescue Unit personnel and Jim Cole's wrecker service, first stabilized the vehicle, which took nearly an hour, before they could begin to extricate Upton from the car.

Then emergency personnel used the Jaws of Life to cut the car open on the passenger side, to remove Upton.

A student at Western Carolina University, Upton, was driving the car her sister had received just days before.

From inside the car, she expressed her sorrow for wrecking the car. Her parents, Blaine and Myra Upton, arrived on the scene and watched the rescue operation.

After Upton was removed from the vehicle, she was taken to Rutherford Regional Medical Center for treatment.