A Ballston Spa man who was the father of two daughters, enjoyed lifting weights and planned on becoming a nurse is being mourned by friends and family after he died in an automobile accident Tuesday afternoon.
Zane Ruggles, 24, died of a head injury around 4:42 p.m. after the 2003 Ford Explorer he was in flipped several times on the Thruway in the town of Minden, Montgomery County, and landed on a guard rail. The accident was caused by a bale of hay in the westbound lane, which driver Sarah Couvillon, 22, of Wilton, swerved to avoid. Police said the hay had fallen from a horse trailer being driven by a woman they were questioning on Wednesday.
Ruggles and Couvillon were both wearing seat belts, according to the police, but Ruggles was still partially ejected from the vehicle. Couvillon was flown by Lifenet to Bassett Hospital in Cooperstown, where she was treated for neck and back injuries.
The news of Ruggles’ death spread rapidly on the Internet, with his Facebook wall posted with expressions of shock and dismay. On Wednesday afternoon, Michele Kaufman, of Rock City Falls, was one of dozens who had voiced her sorrow. “Gone too soon my friend,” she wrote. “But in a better place.”
In a phone interview, Kaufman, 30, said the thing that defined Ruggles was his sense of humor. He would say anything, she said. “It really stood out.”
His passing came just one day after he encouraged Kaufman to pursue her interest in becoming a nurse and said that he also wanted to be a nurse. Kaufman didn’t know why Ruggles was interested in becoming a nurse, but noted that his girlfriend was one. Friends of Ruggles said he had his sights set on Mildred Elley for his nursing certificate.
“[He was a] big muscly guy. It didn’t seem like his kind of thing,” she said. “He said he was excited about becoming a nurse.”
Leah Paskalides, 22, of Saratoga Springs, noted the sensitive side of Ruggles, who had two young girls that were not in his custody. “He used to talk about his kids all the time,” she said.
Couvillon and Ruggles met when he worked as a bouncer at the Saratoga Springs nightclub Mine last year, according to Paskalides.
“They were just really close friends,” Paskalides said. “I can’t really imagine what she’s going through.”
On Wednesday, Paskalides said that Couvillon was doing well physically, but shaken up by the death of her friend.
The name of the woman driving the horse trailer or possible charges she might face were not released on Wednesday night.
Categories: Schenectady County