Firefighters used the "Jaws of Life" tool to extricate a critically injured motorist from his car late Thursday night after it crashed into a tree in the front yard of a High Street home.

A passenger had managed to get of the wreck and was sitting on a nearby wall when firefighters arrived shortly after 11 p.m., but the driver of the 2002 Mazda Protege -- identified as Joseph Forte, 23, of College Park Drive -- -- was pinned in the vehicle and not responsive, although he was breathing.

He suffered head and neck injuries, and was reported in critical condition Friday at St. Vincent's Medical Center in Bridgeport.

The passenger, Zachary Stenson, also 23, of Bullard Street, suffered facial injuries, police said. He also was treated at St. Vincent's, where his condition was reported as satisfactory on Friday.

Fire personnel began treating the driver while he was still trapped in the car, establishing an airway and applying a cervical collar. Engine 2 deployed a hose line and extinguishers for protection, and assisted in treating both the driver and the passenger.

The Jaws of Life was used to remove the vehicle's front door. The driver was then placed on a backboard, and both he and the passenger were taken by ambulance to the hospital.

Police investigators said that speed was likely a factor in the accident, but the probe is continuing.