UPPER JAY — An off-duty state trooper rescued the driver of a concrete truck that landed in a river after a collision with a car on Route 9N here Wednesday morning.
George E. Dorr, 74, of Keeseville, who suffered minor injuries, and Tara E. Pratt, 27, of Elizabethtown, whose legs were injured in the crash, were brought to University of Vermont Health Network, Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital and UVHN, Elizabethtown Community Hospital, respectively. State Police said.
Pratt was driving a sedan, and Dorr was behind the wheel of an Upstone Materials concrete truck. According to Upstone Human Resources Manager Danielle Godin, the truck was carrying concrete from the company’s quarry in Keeseville.
State Police Troop B Public Information Officer Trooper Jennifer Fleishman said the cause of the collision was still under investigation, but the concrete truck went through the guardrails on the north side of Route 9N, careened down an embankment and landed with part of the truck in the East Branch of the Ausable River.
The front of Pratt’s cobalt blue, two-door car was completely destroyed. The windshield was shattered, and at least one of its wheels missing.
TRUCK IN FLAMES
An off-duty state trooper, Christopher Leege of Plattsburgh, witnessed the collision, Fleishman said.
He found Dorr in the river, clinging to his truck. Leege helped drag him to safety. Once he did, the truck burst into flames, according to Fleishman.
It was unclear what caused the truck to catch fire. Eric Newell, a member of the Upper Jay Volunteer Fire Department and second assistant chief with the AuSable Forks Volunteer Ambulance Service, said it was likely due to collision damage.
“It’s going to take a while for them to be able to pull the cement truck out,” he said.
State Police’s commercial vehicle enforcement unit and collision reconstruction units responded at 9 a.m. The Upper Jay, Jay and Keene volunteer fire departments and AuSable Forks and Keene rescue squads responded a few minutes later, according to Newell. The Upper Jay crew was still there as of 3 p.m.
A State Department of Environmental Conservation spill response team also responded, as diesel fuel from the truck was leaking into the river.
It was unclear whether concrete material also leaked.