Subscribe for 33¢ / day
Snowplow vs. truck
Derek Pruitt - Emergency responders work at the scene of collision between a Canadian-Pacific Railway freight train and a Town of Northumberland snowplow near Saunders Road in Northumberland on Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2009. Rescue personnel cut the top of the cab off to remove the driver who was taken away in a Moreau ambulance.

NORTHUMBERLAND -- One man was killed and another injured Wednesday morning when a 41-car Canadian Pacific freight train slammed into a Northumberland town snowplow.

The driver of the truck was taken to Glens Falls Hospital, while the other man, who was operating the truck's wing plow, died at the scene, according to town and law enforcement officials.

Northumberland Supervisor Bill Peck identified the man who died as James Shea, 68, a retired state engineer and firefighter who has worked part-time for the town Highway Department for the last 10 years.

"He didn't need to work for the money," Peck said. "He did it because he liked the camaraderie of working with the guys. He was just a really good guy who liked working in a team."

The driver, Kerry D. Garnsey, 53, was taken to the hospital for head and chest injuries and was initially listed in critical condition, police said. He was later listed in fair condition, according to a hospital spokesman.

Garnsey is a 30-year veteran of the Highway Department, Peck said.

The accident happened behind the town Highway Department garage at about 8:45 a.m. near Route 32 and Saunders Drive.

Peck said the men, deployed for the first snowstorm of the season, were out plowing snow near Saunders Drive when the crash occurred. He was unsure if they were working on their first shift of the morning or had already completed several runs.

According to the Saratoga County Sheriff's Office, the plow was driving over a railroad track crossing on Saunders Drive when it became stuck.

Emergency and firefighter crews from Gansevoort and South Glens Falls worked in heavy snow to remove Garnsey from the plow's cab, which was facing north. The truck had come to rest next to the stopped train.

The two operators on board the train were uninjured, said Michel Spenard, a spokesman for Canadian Pacific Railroad.

The freight train was headed north from Saratoga Springs toward Rouses Point near the Canadian border at the time of the crash, Spenard said.

Spenard said the train was carrying mixed freight and general cargo. It was unclear Wednesday how fast the train was traveling at the time of the accident.

"I believe that will be determined by the investigation," Spenard said.

The train did not derail and was able to move on at 1 p.m., he said.

The National Transportation Safety Board had no plans to investigate the accident as of Wednesday, a spokeswoman said.

Peck, the town supervisor, said he visited briefly with Shea's family the morning of the accident.

"I went to see Jim Shea's wife, and all her neighbors were there," Peck said. "That's the good thing about a small town. Everyone comes together in tragedy."


Load comments