Updated 3:30, Monday
Two young New Hampshire women visiting Martha’s Vineyard sustained serious injuries after colliding with a dump truck in a horrific moped accident Saturday afternoon on Barnes Road that left seasoned first responders shaken.
The 19-year-old driver, Noelle Lambert from Manchester, N.H., lost her leg at the scene and was transferred by MedFlight to Boston Medical Center.
The 19-year-old passenger, Kelly Moran, from Newfields, N.H., also sustained serious leg injuries and was rushed into surgery at Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, where she remained as of Saturday night.
Both women were star athletes in high school. Ms. Moran was a three-sport standout at Exeter High School.
The two girls were riding on one moped traveling south on Barnes Road in the direction of Martha’s Vineyard Airport about 12:35 pm when the moped operator went onto the shoulder of the road, overcorrected and lost control near the entrance to the Vineyard Youth Tennis Center and struck the side of a dump truck operated by Brant Augustus Ben David of West Tisbury, according to the initial investigation by Oak Bluffs Police.
Oak Bluffs Police Sergeant Steve Conley told The Times Mr. Ben David saw the moped driver lose control and was able to stop but was unable to avoid the collision, Sergeant Conley said. The moped struck the truck near the fender section.
Sergeant Conley said Mr. Ben David was not at fault. “It was just unfortunate,” he said.
The moped was rented by Ride On Mopeds of Oak Bluffs.
“I feel terrible about the accident,” Jason Leone, owner of the moped rental business where the girls began their day, told The Times Sunday outside his rental shop on Circuit Avenue Extension. Mr. Leone said the girls completed the required safety course, which includes a video and a brief riding test around the block where the rental shop is located.
Mr. Leone, who owns rental businesses in Oak Bluffs and Vineyard Haven, estimated he annually rents thousands of mopeds and has a good safety record comparable to other modes of rental transportation. Last summer he said there were fewer than 12 accidents, none serious.
An Oak Bluffs volunteer firefighter, he said he is familiar with accident scenes. “I want people to go out and have fun and come back safe,” Mr. Leone said. “The accident is very unfortunate. I feel badly for the families and the girls. It’s an unfortunate situation, and I am thankful to the fire department. They did a good job. No one wants to roll up on that, but that’s why we’re there — to help.”
Oak Bluffs Fire and EMS Chief John Rose was one of the first to respond to the accident scene. Mr. Rose, a veteran firefighter and emergency medical first responder who has seen his share of accidents, said, “It was extremely difficult.”
Chief Rose said there was a tremendous response from the volunteer department. “Within minutes of the call we had an abundance of EMTs, paramedics, and firefighters there,” he said.
Chief Rose said the call was made for MedFlight from the accident scene. “When the most critical patient arrived at the ER, MedFlight was only minutes away,” he said. “It came together really well from that aspect, but it was extremely difficult, that’s for sure.”
Chief Rose said it is difficult to find the words to describe the emotions that accompany this type of situation. He said he knows the young woman is facing a long road, but she is alive and in good care, and that is cause for some satisfaction.
Chief Rose said the members of the department displayed a high level of skill and professionalism under very trying conditions. “It really makes a difference in the outcome in situations like that,” he said. “They held themselves together in a situation that ordinary people will never see that we have to see.”
Two years ago
While less serious moped injuries occur with some regularity, the last fatal moped accident occurred two years ago on July 2, 2014, when Alexandro Garcia, 22, of Springfield lost control of the moped he was operating on South Road in Chilmark and drove into the path of an oncoming pickup truck.
The driver had just left work at the Grey Barn Farm and pulled out of the driveway on his way down Island. Mr. Garcia was driving up Island when he went off the road on the right side, tried to correct, and crossed into the oncoming traffic, police said.