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What you need to know for 10/18/2017

Northway crash leaves one dead

Northway crash leaves one dead

A 64-year-old Saratoga Springs woman died Tuesday in a three-vehicle crash on the Northway that crit
Northway crash leaves one dead
Emergency personnel tend to occupants of an overturned bus off the southbound lanes of the Northway today. (David Lombardo/Gazette reporter)

A 64-year-old Saratoga Springs woman died Tuesday in a three-vehicle crash on the Northway that critically injured a man and caused a tour bus full of college lacrosse players from Vermont to tip onto its side.

The woman, whose name police have not released, was a passenger in a red Porsche driving south between exits 9 and 10. The driver, a 65-year-old man, was in critical but stable condition later Tuesday at Albany Medical Center, police said.

The crash, which closed the Northway’s southbound lanes for about five hours, happened at 11:58 a.m. when the Porsche apparently lost control while driving in front of the Premiere tour bus, police said. It triggered a chain-reaction accident that sent the bus rolling onto its side off the highway’s shoulder, said state police zone commander Lt. Greg Thomas.

A construction van was the third vehicle involved in the crash. Its driver escaped injury, police said.

Investigators weren’t sure why the driver lost control of the Porsche, said state police spokesman Trooper Mark Cepiel. “I cannot say exactly what happened; it’s part of the investigation.”

The roads were wet at the time of the accident.

The Porsche driver was taken by ambulance to the hospital with multiple fractures, police said.

An autopsy will be conducted on the woman either today or Thursday, Saratoga County Coroner John DeMartino said.

The tour bus was carrying 35 members of the men’s lacrosse team at St. Michael’s College of Colchester, Vt., plus three coaches and an athletic trainer, according to a statement put out by the college. The team was en route to Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry for a game today, which was postponed after the accident.

Four of the students suffered “very minor” injuries and were treated at the scene, police said.

“Thankfully, it appears that all members of the team and travel party are reported to be safe,” college Associate Director of Athletics Chris Kenny said in a news release. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and families of the victims who are also involved in the accident.”

The college would not comment further on the accident.

The Shenendehowa Central School District provided buses to take the players and coaches to the Clifton Park-Halfmoon Fire Company, where the fire district treated them to pizza, chicken wings, potato wedges and beverages, said Paul Lent, director of Saratoga County Emergency Services.

“The team appeared to be extremely grateful for it,” he said.

The American Red Cross also brought snacks.

The young men could have fared far worse, Lent said.

“Given the number of students in that bus, it could have had a much different result,” especially if the bus had rolled over completely, he said.

On Tuesday, all three southbound lanes of the Northway were closed from noon until after 5 p.m., with traffic rerouted onto routes 9 and 146, causing delays on the Northway and the detour roads alike.

Saratoga County District Attorney James A. Murphy III said he is awaiting the outcome of the state police investigation to determine whether to file any criminal charges.

The college lacrosse season started over the weekend, with St. Michael’s losing its first game against Mercyhurst on Sunday.

Two members of this season’s team hail from the Capital Region. Theo Ferguson is a junior who attended Bethlehem Central High School and Conner Roohan is a junior who attended Saratoga Springs High School. It is not known whether they were on the bus.

Interim head coach Patrick Ivory said at a news conference at the firehouse that the students were ready to continue their season despite the crash. Ivory, who originally is from Saratoga Springs, has been on the job for two months.

Students at the Catholic college, which is north of Burlington on Lake Champlain, are on spring break this week.

Stacey Lauren-Kennedy contributed to this report.

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