March 26, 2001 in Edgecomb, Carol Daigneault’s northbound SUV was turning from Route 1 onto Route 27 when the car hit black ice and tipped onto its side, smashing Daigneault’s arm through the driver’s side window and pinning it under the car. “After a few futile attempts to call into the blackness for help, I lost consciousness,” the Rockport woman writes in a new letter to Wiscasset Fire Chief Rob Bickford and the department.
Daigneault’s letter came with a $1,000 donation to the department.
Bickford received the letter and donation in the mail March 29. Responding to questions from Wiscasset Newspaper April 2, Bickford said, “I was surprised to read about how the event still affected her 20 years later. We haven’t yet discussed what we will use the money for but will use it exactly as she wishes.”
In a phone interview April 3, Daigneault said the department will know best how to use it.
Bickford remembers hearing about the rescue call, but does not think he was on it. In the letter and interview, Daigneault expressed the gratitude she still holds for the Wiscasset and Edgecomb fire crews and the ambulance crew that got her to Wiscasset Municipal Airport for a LifeFlight trip to Central Maine Medical Center In Lewiston, where she regained full consciousness as an emergency room doctor was “sewing up my hands.”
Edgecomb’s crew arrived first to the crash scene, according to the letter Wiscasset released April 1 among supporting documents for selectmen’s Tuesday, April 6 meeting.
Daigneault told Wiscasset Newspaper, “I remember being told that Wiscasset had been called to bring that (extrication) equipment in, and I guess that was comforting enough that I just kind of passed out and let them do their thing.” She also recalled fearing her arm might have to be amputated. Her arms and hands have always been important to her involvement in arts and crafts.
“Reliving the incident in my mind now, 20 years later, leaves me filled with emotion. Relief, gratitude, appreciation and hope well to the surface. Relief, of course, that the response to my crash was so professional and well executed on all levels. Overwhelming appreciation for all of the people who were dedicated, well trained and made themselves available to participate in so many ways in my rescue. Gratitude for the life their swift and competent actions afforded me – one where my injured arm and hands work perfectly normally today,” the letter states.
Her hands are scarred from cuts and road burns, “but they work oh so very well,” it continues. “And then there is hope ... no one else will have to encounter an experience like this,” but if they do, “that the resources that so wonderfully supported me be there for others.”
Town Manager Dennis Simmons’ report, also in the meeting packet, notes Daigneault’s letter and one from Margot Stiassni-Sieracki. The Edgecomb woman wrote about her gratitude to Wiscasset Community Center (WCC), its programs and committed staff. The letter suggests WCC could also stand for wonderful, caring community, “because that is what it is!”
“Obviously our employees are killing it and making an impression,” Simmons wrote the board about the two letters. He added, the coordinator of a career day for Troy Howard Middle School in Belfast reported Wiscasset’s police, fire and EMS chiefs did a great job taking part via Zoom.