Concrete truck driver rescued from river, two hospitalized after Upper Jay collision
UPPER JAY — A two-vehicle collision on Route 9N sent two drivers to the hospital with minor injuries Wednesday morning. One driver, of a concrete truck, ended up in a nearby river, where he was rescued by an off-duty state trooper.
Keeseville resident George E. Dorr and Tara E. Pratt of Elizabethtown were brought to Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital and Elizabethtown Community Hospital, respectively. Dorr suffered minor injuries, Pratt suffered injuries to her legs, according to State Police.
Pratt, 27, was driving a sedan. Dorr, 74, was driving an Upstone Materials concrete truck. According to Danielle Godin, human resources manager at Upstone, the truck was carrying concrete from the company’s quarry in Keeseville. State Police Public Information Officer Jennifer Fleishman said the cause of the collision is still under investigation.
After the collision, Fleishman said 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. Photos by Sun Community News show two of its wheels at the roadside before a pile of dirt, as if they’d broken off after hitting the embankment.
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 from the body.
An off-duty state trooper, Christopher Leege of Plattsburgh, witnessed the collision and ran to the scene, 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’s unclear what specifically 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,” Newell 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 shortly after 9 a.m., according to Newell. The Upper Jay crew was still on scene as of 3 p.m.
A state Department of Environmental Conservation spill response team also responded. Diesel fuel from the truck was leaking into the river. It’s unclear if concrete material also leaked. The investigation is ongoing.