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No charges in crash that put 13 in hospitals

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By Melanie Lekocevic

Capital Region Independent Media

The church van overturned several times before coming to rest on its side. Thirteen passengers were transported to area hospitals, three with life-threatening injuries. Thomas Marra/For Capital Region Independent Media

NEW BALTIMORE — State police are not anticipating filing charges or issuing tickets following a crash of a van on the New York State Thruway that put 13 people in the hospital, three with life-threatening injuries.

The crash, which caused the van to overturn numerous times, according to state police, occurred Aug. 24 at about 9:30 p.m. in the southbound lane of the Thruway near Exit 21B.

The van was a 14-passenger vehicle with 13 people in it, including the driver, who was not injured in the accident.

The passengers were members of a church group that were returning to New York City.

“State Police have determined a church group from the Church of God Prophecy, out of South Ozone Park, NY, were traveling back to New York City from visiting Niagara Falls when the van they were traveling in crashed and overturned,” according to a statement from state police.

First responders on the scene of the crash Aug. 24. Thomas Marra/For Capital Region Independent Media

At press time, three of the 13 passengers remained in critical condition with serious, life-threatening injuries at Albany Medical Center. They are Diane Grier, 51, of Queens Village; Phyllis May Lewis, 65, of Rosedale; and Pamela Wilson, 65, whose address is presently unknown.

Nine additional passengers were taken to several area hospitals for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries. Passengers Antoinette Roper, 63, of Jamaica, New York, and Sarah Simms, 63, of Hempstead, were transported to Northern Dutchess Hospital. Maxine Fisher, of Jamaica, New York, was taken to Health Alliance in Kingston; Ismay Montoban, 63, of Central Islip, was transported to Albany Memorial Hospital; and Herschell Blackwood, 63, of Valley Stream, was taken to St. Peter’s Hospital. Leonie Marshall, 62, of Queens Village, and three additional passengers whose addresses were unknown at press time — Ronald Price, 69, Rochelle Smith, 37, and Agnes Williams, 84 — were all taken to Albany Medical Center for non-life-threatening injuries.

No criminal charges and no tickets are expected to be issued following the crash, state police said. Thomas Marra/For Capital Region Independent Media

State police determined no criminal charges are planned and no tickets have been issued.

“Percival Carter, 73, of Jamaica, New York, was operating the van when he attempted to avoid an uninvolved vehicle that changed lanes, and he overcorrected, causing the van to lose control and overturn numerous times,” according to state police. “Carter was not injured during the crash.”

Several first-responder agencies responded to the crash site. In addition to state police, also assisting at the scene were Troop F BCI, Troop CRU (Collision Reconstruction Unit), the Coxsackie and New Baltimore fire departments, along with multiple EMS agencies.

Traffic in the southbound lanes of the Thruway were closed during the investigation and reopened to traffic around 3:45 a.m.

Emergency workers transported 13 passengers to several area hospitals the night of the crash. Thomas Marra/For Capital Region Independent Media
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