Van-truck accident closes Thruway

One man was sent to Albany Medical Center Hospital by helicopter after a motor vehicle accident on t

One man was sent to Albany Medical Center Hospital by helicopter after a motor vehicle accident on the Thruway snarled traffic and closed the highway for a portion of Friday afternoon.

The injuries weren’t considered life-threatening.

Eastbound lanes of the Thruway were closed while a helicopter from Life-Net landed to transport Andrew Ruth, 25, of Fort Johnson, to Albany Medical Center, where he is being treated for serious leg injuries and was listed in serious condition Friday night, police said.

All eastbound lanes were reopened by 4 p.m., police said. The Troop T commercial vehicle enforcement unit of the state police and the Thruway Traffic Safety Office are continuing to investigate the accident. Police said charges are expected to be filed.

According to police, Ruth was driving a van when he ran into the back of a tandem tractor-trailer between the Fonda and Amsterdam Thruway exits.

Police said investigators believe that the tandem trailer, operated by Kenneth Sherwood, 52, of Cato, was moving slowly up a long hill and that Ruth did not notice the difference in speed between the two vehicles.

Police said Ruth’s vehicle, a 2005 Chevrolet van, got wedged underneath the trailer and was dragged about two-tenths of a mile before Sherwood was able to safely pull over his truck.

It took firefighters and other emergency responders nearly an hour and a half to free Ruth from his vehicle, official said.

According to Amsterdam Fire Department Battalion Chief Walter Martin, Ruth’s vehicle had to be yanked by a tow truck from underneath the trailer before firefighters could attempt to remove him. Martin said the vehicle’s door and dashboard then had to be lifted before rescue crews could free Ruth, who Martin said weighs between 350 and 400 pounds.

Greater Amsterdam Volunteer Ambulance Corp. emergency medical stabilized Ruth at the scene as firefighters freed him from the vehicle. Town of Florida volunteer firefighters were also on the scene.

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