By RYNE R. MARTIN
STOCKHOLM CENTER - A Jefferson County milk driver carrying a half load of organic milk crashed into the passenger side of a sports utility vehicle before his vehicle flipped onto its side, skidded approximately 150 yards down the roadway, crashed through a guide rail and rolled two times before coming to rest at the bottom of an embankment.
The late model GMC Suburban came to rest a short distance from the collision point in a yard and when emergency personnel and passersby first arrived on the scene they found the driver lying on the ground next to the sports utility vehicle. They initially believed he had been ejected from his vehicle but later learned he had crawled out of the window of his vehicle to safety.
The tanker truck driver, Gregory Roes, 35, of Carthage, and the sports utility vehicle operator, Chico M. Newman, 38, of 1731 55th St., St. Charles, Mo., were both transported to Canton-Potsdam Hospital by Tri-Town Rescue following the 2 p.m. Wednesday accident, treated and released.
Frank W. Burns, a deputy fire/rescue coordinator for St. Lawrence County, said the minor injuries to the two drivers shocked emergency personnel when they first arrived on the scene and saw the damage to the truck they were expecting the worst.
From the damage to both vehicles, Im very surprised there werent two fatalities. If I was that truck driver, Id be buying lottery tickets, he said.
State police said their investigation into the cause of the accident is continuing, and tickets are pending.
Troopers said Roes was westbound on state Route 11, near the intersection with state Route 11C in the town of Stockholm, when his tanker truck and Newmans eastbound sports utility vehicle collided.
Newmans vehicle exited the south side of the roadway, while the milk truck slid more than 100 yards down the roadway before crashing through the guiderails and rolling down the embankment, coming to rest on the drivers side.
Mr. Burns said the tanker had an 8,000 gallon capacity and was reportedly had a half load at the time of the collision.
There is no baffle system in those milk tankers so when there is a quick movement there is nothing to stop the load from shifting. It is very easy to roll, he noted.
Both men suffered only bruises and minor lacerations, injuries that one veteran state trooper called unbelievable based on the damage to the two vehicles.
New York state Department of Environmental Conservation personnel and Brasher-Winthrop Fire also responded to the accident scene.