Child car seats were credited Thursday morning with saving two children from serious injury in a rollover accident, police and witnesses said.
The children, secured in properly installed backseat safety seats, were largely unscathed in the crash, authorities said. Their mother suffered a minor injury.
All three were inside an SUV headed north on Grand Boulevard just after 11 a.m. when their vehicle struck a car at the intersection with Dean Street. The driver of the car, Chicsheng Yang, 66, of Niskayuna, was later ticketed for failure to yield the right of way, police said.
Personal effects, including a CD holder and umbrella believed to have come from the SUV, lay in the median following the accident. The SUV landed on its wheels, with the driver’s side windshield and corner of the roof smashed in.
Grand Boulevard resident Rick Mele said he was on his lawn at the corner when he heard the impact. He looked up and watched the SUV roll over.
“I thought it was bad,” Mele recalled. “We have an accident here once a week in the summertime. I know I call 911 a lot.”
Mele rushed to the SUV to check on the occupants. All appeared remarkably OK, he said.
“The kids were crying. The kids in the back seat were fine,” Mele said. “They were both in car seats.”
Their mother, he said, appeared to have a cut on her forearm.
“It could have been worse,” he said. “The kids were safe, being in the car seats. They were safe.”
Niskayuna Police Chief John Lubrant said at the scene the indication was that the car entered the path of the SUV from the Dean Street median break. He also echoed Mele’s thoughts on the car seats.
“This would have ended up being a whole lot worse” without the car seats, Lubrant said. “There’s no doubt.”
The northbound lane of Grand Boulevard was shut down for about 45 minutes as paramedics and investigators worked. Niskayuna Fire District 1 responded, with mutual aid called in from District 2.