MANCHESTER — The fire chief of the Ridgeway Volunteer Fire Co. was hospitalized by helicopter after his SUV overturned near the firehouse on Tuesday night.

Brian Flanagan, 43, was returning from a call and driving west on Route 571 just after 10 p.m. in his department-issued 2016 Chevrolet Tahoe.

Flanagan drifted off the road and struck a utility pole, sending the SUV airborne into the power lines before landing on the passenger side, police Capt. Vincent Manco said.

Wires that fell from the utility pole onto a fire truck, which had been following the chief, caused minor damage to its front end. The driver and passenger in the fire truck were not injured.

SUV involved in a crash on Route 571 in Manchester 11/22/22
SUV involved in a crash on Route 571 in Manchester 11/22/22 (Manchester police)
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Wires connected from the pole to a house were pulled out by the crash.

Flanagan was pulled from the mangled SUV, which was being held up by low-voltage wires, and flown to Jersey Shore University Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries.

Manco did not disclose why Flanagan drifted off the road. The crash remains under investigation

A crane was brought to the crash scene to remove the SUV.  The westbound lanes of Route 571 were closed for utility pole repair through the morning commute.

The crash scene is across from Ridgeway Elementary School and Manchester Township Middle School.

Manchester Township is served by four fire companies each with its own chief.

Dan Alexander is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at dan.alexander@townsquaremedia.com

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