By David DeKok

HARRISBURG, Pa. (Reuters) - A Pennsylvania school teacher who was left impaled for six hours by a trailer hitch that pierced her torso front to back in a traffic accident emerged in critical but stable condition on Friday from surgery to remove the metal rod, authorities said.

Megan Adams, 28, of Lancaster, was driving alone on a country highway late Thursday night when her car ran off the road and plowed into the front end of a boat trailer left parked along the shoulder, police said.

Despite the presence of houses nearby, nobody saw the accident occur, and one resident who later recounted hearing a loud noise did not investigate, according to Lieutenant Robin Weaver of the East Lampeter Township Police Department.

At about 5:30 a.m. another resident heard faint cries for help, and discovered Adams in the wrecked car. Temperatures were below freezing overnight, Weaver said.

More than 25 firefighters and medical personnel called to the scene worked to free Adams from the car, Captain Jeff Keens of the Lafayette Fire Company in Lancaster told Reuters.

The trailer hitch had penetrated the engine compartment and dashboard before piercing Adams’ leg and then entering her body at the right side of her abdomen, Keens said. The rod exited her back and went through the car seat.

He said much of the car had to be removed to extricate the woman. Adams, an English teacher at Elizabethtown Area Middle School, was conscious during the ordeal and talked to her rescuers during the effort.

They cut off the trailer hitch at each end, leaving it to surgeons at Lancaster General Hospital to remove the metal from her body.

“It’s incredible she survived,” Weaver told Reuters. “That’s not something we often see.”

Keens said the rod apparently missed major blood vessels, and there was relatively little bleeding given the extent of her injuries.

Weaver said his department is investigating the cause of the accident. Weather was not a factor, he said.

(Editing by Steve Gorman; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)