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Published: September 17, 2008 05:36 am ShareThisPrintThis
Driver: Other motorist appeared 'passed out'
By Matthew K. Roy
Staff writer

PEABODY - A woman who was airlifted Monday to a Boston hospital after a car crash on Lowell Street appeared to be unconscious behind the wheel prior to the accident, according to the driver of the rental truck she hit.
Police said Suzanne Coughter, 45, of 161 Newbury St., Peabody, drove her Chevy Cavalier into the opposing lane of traffic and into a Ryder truck driven by Glenn Jalbert of 10 Goodridge St., Peabody. The accident occurred shortly before noon.
Coughter was airlifted from Peabody High School to Beth Israel Hospital in Boston, police said. No one at the hospital could be reached yesterday to verify her condition.
Jalbert and a passenger in the van, Rick Shruhan, were treated and released from Massachusetts General Hospital on Monday.
During a phone interview yesterday, Jalbert said he received 10 stitches in his head and six in his knee.
Jalbert, a substitute teacher in the Peabody school system who also works at the city's municipal golf course, was in the midst of transporting voting equipment for today's state primary election when the crash happened.
He said Coughter looked to be "passed out" and didn't slow down or attempt to stop.
"I was more concerned about her than me," Jalbert said.
Peabody police, with help from the state police, are investigating the accident's cause.
A call to a Peabody police spokesman was not returned yesterday.
In a separate incident on Monday, a second truck transporting voting equipment was involved in an accident. After it was detoured because of the Lowell Street accident, the truck hit an overhanging tree branch on Apple Hill Road, City Clerk Tim Spanos said.
The branch "impaled" the truck's roof and peeled off a portion of it, Spanos said.
"Luckily, the parks department got there fast and cut down the tree branch," he said.
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