A Tamaqua woman sustained injuries but was able to crawl out of her vehicle after it flipped on its side Sunday while ascending a rain-slickened Hometown Hill in Rush Township.

According to township police, Heather Lao, 31, 110 Hunter Street, was traveling north in a 1994 Jeep Grand Cherokee when her vehicle struck the sharp mountain rocks on the east side of the roadway and an ungrated storm drain. Police Chief Rich Sinton said the Jeep flipped on its side after the vehicle's tires impacted the open drain.

The front of the vehicle sustained heavy damage and the force of the impact caused airbags to deploy. However, Lao was able to extricate herself from the damaged Jeep. After freeing herself, Lao was assisted by passers-by until police and medics arrived.

At the scene Lao appeared to have a hand wound among her injuries. She was taken via Tamaqua ambulance to St. Luke's Miners Memorial Hospital in Coaldale for treatment of injuries following the early morning rollover.

The accident took place in the vicinity of the stone retaining wall that spans a portion of the west side of the highway, about midway up the hill.

Traffic on SR309 was backed up following the accident which totaled the vehicle. Assisting police were volunteers from the Hometown Fire Company, Tamaqua Rescue and Tamaqua Community Ambulance personnel. Hometown fire police controlled traffic at the scene during the response and cleanup.

(TN writer Andy Leibenguth contributed to this story.)