LENOX -- A Lee resident is in critical condition in the wake of a single-car accident Wednesday on Walker Street in Lenox, according to Police Chief Stephen O'Brien.

Patricia A. Duval, 63, of High Street, was a passenger in a 2003 Saturn driven by Michelle L. Drew, 54, of Tempe, Ariz., which veered off the road and struck a guardrail east of the Route 7 and 20 bypass, police said.

Duval was trapped beneath the car's collapsed dashboard, according to the police report, which said it took the Fire Department 45 minutes to free her with an extrication device. She taken by ambulance to Berkshire Medical Center before being transferred to Bay State Medical Center in Springfield.

O'Brien, citing information from a family member, said Duval remains in critical condition.

Drew, a longtime friend, was treated and released from BMC. Both women were wearing seat belts.

Drew was cited for negligent operation of a motor vehicle and failure to stay within marked lanes. She will face the charges at a magistrate's hearing in Southern Berkshire District Court on a date to be scheduled, O'Brien said.

Lenox Police Officer William R. Fuore, who responded to the accident shortly before 5 p.m., reported that he found the vehicle sideways in the eastbound travel lane after striking the end post of the guardrails. Drew, who suffered a minor hand injury, told Fuore that she was driving at the "regular speed" when she took her eyes off the road briefly, the police report stated.


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The official cause of the accident is momentary inattention, O'Brien said.

Eyewitness Kenneth Lagarce, a Walker Street resident, saw the accident while mowing the lawn of his front yard. He told police he heard a loud crash and then saw the vehicle coming to rest, apparently with its back end off the ground during rotation caused by the impact, Fuore's report stated.

Another witness, Theresa Sorrentino, told Fuore she was driving behind the Saturn, which appeared to be within the posted 40 mile-an-hour speed limit. She reported that the accident was so sudden and without warning that she recalled hearing it first before seeing it.

The Lenox Fire and Police departments, as well as Lee Police, County Advanced Life Support and Lenox Ambulance responded to the scene.

To contact Clarence Fanto:

cfanto@yahoo.com

or (413) 637-2551.

On Twitter: @BE_cfanto