Six people, including teenage siblings, were killed today during a horrific accident on U.S. 11 near Fox Ranch Road in the town of Antwerp.
Witnesses say traffic in the area was being stopped due to a repaving project being performed by Barrett Paving. At around 9 a.m., a tractor trailer, driven by James A. Mills Jr., 45, from Myerstown, Pa., was coming up on a line of stopped traffic, but was unable to stop in time, witnesses say. It ran into the back of one of the vehicles and forced it into a third and fourth car. Six vehicles were involved in the accident.
Two vehicles then caught on fire, according to Trooper Jack Keller, Oneida troop spokesman.
The trailer hit a 2007 Subaru Forester, which was pushed into a state DOT pick-up truck, which then hit a 2004 RAV 4. In that car were five people, at least three of which were family members from North Lawrence. The car caught fire and all five people were killed. No names have been released. The Times has learned that one of the victims is Laurie Dana, a special education-speech teacher at St. Lawrence Central Elementary School. Also killer were two children, a rising sixth grader and a rising ninth grader were also killed.
The driver in the Subaru suffered massive injuries and later died at E.J. Noble Hospital in Gouverneur at 12:30 p.m.. The driver of the DOT truck was taken from the scene in a helicopter to Upstate Medical University. He is listed in critical condition with massive chest and head injuries,
Both cars caught on fire after gas tank explosions. The fires were put out by the Gouverneur Fire Department.
The truck driver was taken to Samaritan Medical Center in Watertown for treatment. He will then be turned over to State Police for further action. He is being tested for drugs and alcohol under state requirements for motorists involved in fatal accidents.
Margaret Barbarito, 39216 Fox Ranch Road, heard the crash and saw flames shooting out of the RAV 4 and also saw others trying to get victims out of the vehicle. Someone came up to her asking for water, which she gave them.
The truck was also coming from North Lawrence after picking up a load of yogurt.
Traffic is being stopped on Fox Ranch and Dixon roads as well as Route 11.
A traffic accident reconstruction team from Oneida is on the scene. Christopher Taylor, Potsdam, of the state Office of Fire Prevention and Control is on he scene to assist.