standing Westerly transfer station

Entrance to the Westerly Transfer Station on Larry Hirsch Lane.

WESTERLY — An 82-year-old Westerly woman suffered serious injuries to her legs and hip Wednesday afternoon when she was knocked over and became stuck beneath her car in an accident involving a town front end loader at the Westerly Transfer Station, the Westerly police said.

The woman was taken to Rhode Island Hospital after the crash at the facility on Larry Hirsch Lane. Westerly Police Chief Shawn Lacey said she was was expected to undergo surgery today; her injuries were not considered life threatening.

"We do not believe there is any criminal wrongdoing, but we are still conducting a thorough investigation," Lacey said Thursday. The loader operator, a 67-year-old town employee, was not injured. The police did not identify the worker or the woman.

According to Lacey, officers and personnel with the Westerly Fire Department and Westerly Ambulance Corps were called to the transfer station at about 2:15 p.m. for reports of a two-vehicle crash with injuries.

When officers arrived, a town employee and a customer were finishing moving the woman's car, a 2009 Toyota Corolla, to help rescue her. The impact of the crash left her stuck about halfway underneath the rear driver's side quarter panel. She was not run over, Lacey said.

A preliminary investigation determined that the town employee was working in the area to the right of the weigh station and was using a Volvo loader to move an air conditioning unit when the crash occurred. The police said he dropped off the AC unit in its collection spot and the woman drove behind the loader and parked, intending to remove items from her trunk.

Lacey said the loader operator didn't see the Corolla and backed up as she was approaching the trunk, striking the rear passenger's side window and pushing the car several feet. The impact caused the car to strike the woman and knock her below the bumper.

She remained conscious and alert, the police said, and was helped at the scene before being taken to the hospital by ambulance.

The case remains under investigation, Lacey said.

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