Woman hospitalized after North Naples car crash

Firefighters stand by as paramedics  airlift an injured woman involved in a two-vehicle accident near the intersection of Airport-Pulling Road and Vanderbilt Beach Road in North Naples to the hospital on Tuesday afternoon. Tristan Spinski/Staff

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Firefighters stand by as paramedics airlift an injured woman involved in a two-vehicle accident near the intersection of Airport-Pulling Road and Vanderbilt Beach Road in North Naples to the hospital on Tuesday afternoon. Tristan Spinski/Staff

A woman was transported by medical helicopter to the trauma center at Lee Memorial Hospital in Fort Myers after a car crash in North Naples on this afternoon.

Deborah Hill was driving a white Acura Legend when she attempted to turn left to go westbound onto Vanderbilt Beach Road from Groves Road, between Airport-Pulling Road and Livingston Roads. Another car, believed to be a Honda Passport, was travelling eastbound on Vanderbilt Beach and struck Hill’s Acura in the side, Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Justin Close said.

Close said Hill was conscious at the scene, but was flown to the trauma center as a precautionary measure. The driver of the Passport did not suffer any serious injuries.

Valerie Thornsen was driving by when she said she saw the crash and saw that no one else was there. As an off-duty paramedic with Collier County for 24 years, she knew how to respond to the Crash. It turns out, Hill is Thornsen’s friend.

“I’m not worried,” Thornsen said while taking pictures of Hill’s car. The driver’s-side door was smashed, and mangled wires hung out of the door.

“She got flown up to the trauma center,” Thornsen said of Hill. “I know she’s in good hands, both physically and spiritually.”

Thornsen said she and Hill both attend New Hope Ministries, a church on Davis Boulevard in East Naples. Thornsen said a passenger in Hill’s car was not hurt.

Residents of The Orchards, at the corner of Groves Road and Vanderbilt Beach Road, say crashes are not uncommon at the intersection.

“This is a really busy intersection,” said Brett Hobden, an 11-year resident in The Orchards. “ We’ve seen cars drive up on the median like straddling median here. (We’ve) seen cars go out the wrong side here facing oncoming traffic. It’s always an issue of people don’t really know who’s got the right of way pulling out.”

Hobden believes there should be a Do Not Enter sign at the turn around across from The Orchards on Vanderbilt Beach Road.

“Anyone in a hurry could make bad decisions and not knowing who has the right of way turning out of the development and we’ve seen several accidents here before,” he said.

Hobden’s wife, Alison said what makes the intersection so dangerous is that people are often speeding. She said the speed limit is 45 mph but cars are usually driving 60 or 65 mph on Vanderbilt Beach Road outside her neighborhood.

“We worry about our kids turning out of here only because people don’t really know who has the right of way,” Brett Hobden said.

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