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Two cars collide at trailhead parking lot

No injuries are reported

KEENE VALLEY — Two cars collided in Keene Valley on Saturday when a driver attempted to leave a trailhead parking lot and rear-ended another vehicle. No one was injured.

The Fourth of July weekend is usually one of the busiest weekends of the season for tourism here. The collision happened as many local trailhead parking lots, including those serving the High Peaks Wilderness, were overflowing over the holiday weekend. This happened despite the ongoing closure of the U.S. – Canada border amid concerns over the spread of the coronavirus. The border closure has essentially cut off access to the High Peaks for Canadian hikers, who typically make up a sizeable portion of hiker traffic in this area.

First-responders believe the car collision in Keene Valley happened when a vehicle pulled out too quickly from the Chapel Pond trailhead parking lot shortly after 9 a.m. Saturday.

A Queensbury driver, 38-year-old Thomas Gambino Portuese, allegedly rear-ended another vehicle driven by a 17-year-old from Averill Park. The teen’s name wasn’t released by New York State Police because he’s a minor. A third vehicle was tapped when the two cars collided, but the driver of that vehicle left the scene minutes later.

New York State Police responded within minutes of receiving a call about the collision at 9:10 a.m. The Keene Valley Volunteer Fire Department arrived at 9:18 a.m. and provided traffic control. A Department of Environmental Conservation Forest Ranger was also at the scene.

Portuese’s car sustained some front-end damage, the 17-year-old’s car was damaged in the back, according to Keene Valley Fire Chief Rusty Hall.

The scene was cleared and the fire department was back in service by 10:20 a.m.

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