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Driver freed after three hours of being stuck under overturned 18-wheeler in Central

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CENTRAL - A driver was freed in "the longest and most complex rescue operation in decades" after being stuck beneath an overturned 18-wheeler on Hooper Road in Central Friday night.

The crash took place at Hooper Road between Devall Road and Greenwell Springs Road, resulting in the road being shutdown at the time. The truck took down power lines and power poles.

Central Mayor Wade Evans said witnesses told law enforcement that a truck going the opposite direction of the 18-wheeler crossed the center line, forcing the driver to veer off the road to avoid a head-on crash. 

The driver was not seriously injured, according to the Central Police Department, but EBR EMS and Acadian AirMed responded to assist in patient care and transport.

"I want to thank CPD, the EBRSO, EMS, Entergy, the volunteers, and the AirMed pilots," Central Mayor Wade Evans said. "I know people were upset that their power was out, but it was a tragic accident. I am grateful that the man escaped with his life. Central has some very good first responders."

First responders spent nearly three hours rescuing the man following. Members of the Central Fire Department say removing the driver out safely from the truck's cab was their main priority.

"It was essentially like opening all of your Christmas presents with a pair of tweezers," training officer Cody Gately said. "Complex is not even the word that I would use to describe it. When we say long, typically these incidents take us 10-15 minutes to get someone out of a normal passenger vehicle that's trapped," Gately said.

Officials say they are thankful that this incident did not end in tragedy.

"This is an example of special rescue teams that can come together to accomplish a goal whenever things get a little outside of the box. I am beyond thankful for the relationship that we have with other agencies," he said.

Officials said the cause of the wreck is still being investigated. 

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