Haley Elise Van Pelt, 17, of Evans, was injured about 8:30 a.m. when her late-model Saturn Ion ran off Hardy-McManus Road and slammed sideways into a large pine tree, said Columbia County sheriff's Deputy Ty Mobley.
The tree caved in the driver's-side door, trapping Ms. Van Pelt in the vehicle for two hours as Gold Cross Emergency Medical Service and Martinez-Columbia Fire Rescue personnel worked to free her from the car.
Ms. Van Pelt was taken by ambulance to the nearby parking lot of Grace Baptist Church, then flown by Air Med helicopter ambulance to the Medical College of Georgia Hospital.
Hospital spokeswoman Denise Parrish said Ms. Van Pelt remained in critical condition this morning.
Deputy Greg Kernaghan said it appeared Ms. 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 staff member said Ms. Van Pelt, an honor student, is in the school's marching band and was on her way to summer band camp when the crash occurred.