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Fri., Sep. 4
Serving the communities of Massena and Potsdam, New York
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DOT Worker “serious” After Thursday Tragedy


A truck driver from Pennsylvania was released without charges Thursday night while state police continue their investigation into the morning crash that killed six people on Route 11 in the town of Antwerp.

A survivor of the 9:07 a.m. six-vehicle fiery pileup was listed a serious condition Friday morning at Upstate Medical University, Syracuse. Lewis L. Lottie Jr., 44, Nicholville, underwent surgery Thursday night, according to state police. He escaped as the New York State Department of Transportation pickup he was driving burst into flames from a gas tank explosion.

Investigator Patrick A. Hathaway said Friday he is uncertain about when charges will be filed against James A. Mills Jr., 45, Myerstown, Pa., the driver of the tractor-trailer that set off the tragic chain of events. He said it will take a significant amount of time for the state police traffic accident reconstruction unit, Oneida Troop D headquarters, “to put it all together,” with on-scene measurements, land and aerial photography, and statements from witnesses.

“We are trying to figure out why he didn’t view the stopped vehicles,” Mr. Hathaway said. “From our perspective, we believe there was adequate signage” to alert motorists on construction work ahead. “We are trying to figure out what went wrong.”

Signs warning of double fines for speeding in construction zones were in place at locations both north and south of the accident scene, which was just south of the Route 11 intersection with Dickson and Fox Ranch roads.

The dead included five women in a fire-engulfed car: Laurie M. Dana, 42, of 11858 Route 11, North Lawrence, a special-education/speech teacher at St. Lawrence Elementary School, Brasher Falls; her daughters, Caitlyn O., 14, and Lauryn, 11; the girls’ grandmother, Janet Dana, 69, Caitlyn’s friend Shannon Planty, 14, a student in the Brushton-Moira Central School District, and the woman whose car was the first to be struck by the tractor-trailer, Maryann D. Gregory, 59, Dickinson Center, Franklin County.

The accident scene was cleared shortly after 9 p.m. Thursday, and Route 11 was reopened at 9:17 p.m. to traffic.

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