The car driven by Haley Elise Van Pelt, 17, of Evans, ran off Hardy-McManus Road about 8:30 a.m. and slammed sideways into a large pine tree, said Columbia County Sheriffs Deputy Ty Mobley.
The tree crushed the drivers side door, trapping Miss Van Pelt in the vehicle. It took two hours for emergency workers from Gold Cross Emergency Medical Service and Martinez-Columbia Fire Rescue to free her from the late-model Saturn Ion sedan.
Miss Van Pelt was taken by ground ambulance to the nearby parking lot of Grace Baptist Church, and then flown by Air Med helicopter ambulance to the Medical College of Georgia Hospital.
Hospital spokeswoman Denise Parrish said Miss Van Pelt was listed in critical condition.
Deputy Greg Kernaghan said it appeared Van Pelt, who was alone in the vehicle and driving toward Washington Road on the 5500 block of Hardy-McManus, ran off the edge of the roadway and overcorrected, losing control of her vehicle.
A Greenbrier High School staffer said Miss Van Pelt, an honor student, is a member of the high schools marching band and was on her way to summer band camp when the crash occurred.