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Infant killed, three injured in I-81 rollover Saturday morning

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WATERTOWN — A 5-­ month-old infant was killed and three other passengers were injured when a sport utility vehicle traveling south on Interstate 81 rolled over about 5:30 a.m. Saturday.

Following an investigation, state police said that Quartez Smith, 21, no address given, was driving south on I-81 when he reportedly became drowsy.

According to police, his vehicle, a 2003 Chevy Trailblazer, left the roadway and traveled into the median, striking an earthen embankment at U-Turn number 36.

The vehicle then became airborne, striking a portable trailer holding an electronic DOT sign parked in the U-Turn.

Police said the vehicle landed in the median just south of the U-Turn after overturning several times.

Mr. Smith and two adult passengers were transported to Samaritan Medical Center, where they were treated for minor injuries.

The 5-month-old child riding in the vehicle was taken to Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, by helicopter, where the infant was later pronounced dead.

According to police, all occupants of the vehicle were family members who live in Virginia and were traveling home from London, Ontario, where they had been visiting relatives. Police said the investigation is ongoing.

Troopers were assisted by the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department, Town of Watertown Fire Department, Town of Watertown Ambulance Service, Guilfoyle Ambulance Service, Town of Adams Highway Department, Adams Center Fire Department, state Department of Transportation, Pro Towing and LifeNet crews.

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