Masontown driver rescued after car careens over Fayette hillside
Emergency crews rescued a woman on Sunday who was found in the snow several hours after her car plunged over a hillside in rural Fayette County.
Crews found Lisa Jo Chatlak, 45, of Masontown in a ravine near Route 166 in Lower Martin after she apparently was ejected from her car, state police spokeswoman Stefani Plume said.
“She was there for a while,” Plume said. “I would assume several hours before she was actually found.”
Chatlak suffered moderate injuries from the crash and from exposure to the cold, Plume said. She was flown to a Morgantown hospital to be treated for hypothermia and head injuries, according to the Trib's news partner, WPXI-TV.
Chatlak was listed in good condition on Monday at Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown, W.Va.
Masontown police began their search about 8:15 a.m. Sunday because the woman's boyfriend called to report her missing, said police Chief Joseph Ryan.
“He hadn't heard from her,” Ryan said. “She was on her way to work. He lost cell contact with her.”
Cell service is sketchy in the area, he said.
“He called work, and they confirmed that she did not arrive,” Ryan said.
Police searched and found Chatlak's vehicle in the Lower Martin section of Nicholson Township, he said.
“They figured she was probably over the hillside for four to five hours, I'm guessing,” Ryan said.
Crews had to pull Chatlak up the hill, which is in a heavily wooded area with few houses, Plume said.
Owen Lander, medical director and staff physician for the emergency department at Ruby Memorial Hospital, spoke in general about cold exposure and hypothermia.
Hypothermia means “an abnormally low body temperature,” which poses a higher risk in the winter, although it can happen any time, he said.
“Essentially, as your body gets abnormally cool, everything starts to slow down — all the processes in your body,” Lander said.
Enzymes and proteins in the body don't work as well, and the body faces a higher risk of respiratory failure or cardiovascular collapse, he said.
Someone who has suffered trauma and then becomes hypothermic faces an increased risk of abnormal clotting and traumatic bleeding.
“The timely evaluation, treatment and intervention in trauma of any kind improves patient outcome,” Lander said, “but it just is multiplied when you have environmental exposure.”
Rossilynne Skena is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6646 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Charleroi man’s body found hours after disappearance on Youghiogheny River
- Amish items available at Wavie and Janes in Connellsville
- Connellsville students bringing Civil War to life
- Connellsville Area’s $4.8M budget gap raises specter of layoffs
- DA’s office recused from Fayette man’s $110K cocaine case
- Connellsville Area School District rethinks grading
- Emergency crews search Youghiogheny River in Layton for Charleroi man
- Gulf War veteran restores Uniontown mansion
- Fayette County Salary Board approves hires
- Police in Fayette County seek witnesses to motorcycle accident
- Fayette deputy warden asks for more guards