SHERIDAN - Several people were injured, including a Chautauqua County Sheriff's deputy, in a pileup accident Thursday which closed over 3 miles of Route 5. The 12-vehicle accident involved nearly 20 people around 2400 Route 5 near St. Columban's on the Lake.
Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office and New York State Police responded to the incident at 11:53 a.m., believed to have been caused by wintry conditions. According to police, the eastbound patrol car came across numerous vehicles stopped in the eastbound lane due to whiteout conditions, activating its lights. A vehicle traveling behind the patrol car had stopped while waiting for the driving lane to be cleared. Another vehicle, also traveling east, crashed into the rear of the stopped vehicle causing a chain reaction.
"(It was) a chain-reaction accident. There were some accidents that happened afterward but it was all related to the whiteout incident. It was absolutely terrible weather conditions," Chautauqua County Undersheriff Charles Holder said.
OBSERVER Photos by Chip Riewaldt
Top right: The investigation into the accident which closed Route 5 for four hours is still continuing.
Bottom right: Responders from several departments, including four fire departments, responded to the 12-vehicle pileup around noon on Route 5 in the town of Sheridan.
The collision forced the patrol car into the middle of the roadway which was then hit by a multi-axle Mack truck traveling east. The patrol car was then hit by two other vehicles also traveling on Route 5 at the time.
Scott Butler, divisional director of business development for Lake Shore Hospital, confirmed three people were taken by ambulance to Lake Shore for injuries. Six people were taken to Brooks Memorial Hospital for various injuries, as confirmed by the hospital.
"Six people were brought to our facility from the motor vehicle accident for injuries of a varying degree to be treated in our emergency room by our fine, very competent staff," said Terry Dunford, director of corporate communication for Brooks Memorial Hospital. "Because this is a great facility with great, talented medical professionals, we were ready for today. Our staff was up to the task."
Holder confirmed a sheriff deputy was transferred from Brooks Memorial Hospital to Hamot Medical Center in Erie, Pa., for apparent non-life threatening injuries. He said it appeared the deputy was the most injured, while the other injuries were believed to also be non-life threatening.
"We don't believe it's life threatening ... He's being checked out but he was conscious and communicating with us when he left Brooks (Hospital) so that's good," Holder said.
Multiple fire departments and ambulances from several area companies responded to the scene. Fire departments from Sheridan, East Town Dunkirk, Silver Creek and Forestville, in addition to Alstar Ambulance and County Emergency Services responded to transport patients. Names of those involved were not released by police pending notification of families. The investigation is continuing. No charges have been filed.
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