An Alabama woman has been charged with DUI and reckless driving after she crashed her vehicle over a steep embankment Sunday evening in Hillsville and had to be airlifted from the scene.
According to Virginia State Police Senior Trooper K.D. Blackburn, the accident occurred at approximately 7 p.m. on U.S. 52 in Hillsville about one-tenth of a mile north of Hanging Tree Road. Blacksburn said Jami Jackson Fregeau, 29, of Guntersville, Alabama, was driving south on U.S. 52 in a 2003 GMC Envoy when the vehicle drifted over into the opposite lane and over a steep embankment.
“The vehicle went down the bank, bounced off a tree and then came to stop in a ditch or ravine,” Blackburn said. “We were contacted by OnStar alerting us to the accident.”
The Hillsville Volunteer Fire Department and Carroll EMS responded to the scene, Blackburn said, adding that crews had to extricate Fregeau out of the vehicle.
“They had to cut the top of the vehicle to get her out. She had an odor of alcoholic beverages about her and I charged her with DUI and reckless driving,” Blacksburn said.
A passenger, Helina G. Mehts, 28, of Guntersville, Alabama, told Blackburn that she was sleeping in the front passenger seat when the accident occurred. When the vehicle came to a stop, Mehts said she ended up in the backseat behind the driver, but was able to crawl out of the vehicle without injury.
Blackburn said Fregeau was airlifted to Roanoke Memorial Hospital. He did not deem her injuries to be life threatening.
“I’m not sure if she fell asleep, but I did have a gentleman call me and said they had run him off the road prior to this,” Blackburn said. “I don’t know what was distracting her, but there was definitely something distracting her.”
Allen Worrell can be reached by calling (276) 728-7311 or on Twitter@AWorrellTCN.