DRESDEN — A State Police reconstruction of last week’s Route 22 crash that claimed two lives has found that both vehicles were likely traveling just above the speed limit, but yielded no clues as to why one driver crossed into the oncoming lane.
Police said the computerized reconstruction, which uses skid marks, highway damage and vehicle damage as well as other factors to try to determine what happened, confirmed that 17-year-old Michael P. Rehm veered out of his lane while driving southbound.
The Volkswagen sedan that Rehm was driving hit a northbound Toyota sedan driven by Walton K. Smith, 57, of Putnam, the collision killing both drivers instantly at about 4:20 p.m. July 15.
The speed limit in the area is 55 mph, and it was estimated that both vehicles were traveling around 60 mph at the time of the near head-on crash, according to State Police.
State Police Investigator Joseph Bearor said no explanation could be found for why Rehm veered out of his lane in a right curve headed up a hill, not too far from his home in the town of Dresden and hamlet of Clemons. There was no evidence of alcohol or drug use, and it did not appear he was using a cellphone.
“It’s one of these where we will probably never know what distracted him,” Bearor said.
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It was unclear where the drivers were headed or coming from at the time of the crash, Bearor said.
Rehm’s father, Edward Rehm, is the Dresden fire chief and responded to the crash scene, not knowing that his son was involved in the collision, authorities said.
The teen was a student at Whitehall Central School, where he would have been a senior in the fall. He was vice president of the school’s class of 2017 and played basketball, football and baseball.
Calling hours will be held from 3 to 5 p.m. for the students, and 6 to 8 p.m. for the public, on Friday at Jillson Funeral Home Inc. on Williams Street in Whitehall. A memorial service will be held at 9 a.m. Saturday at Whitehall High School.
Smith was the father of four and worked for a construction company in Castleton. He had also served as a member of the Putnam Volunteer Fire Department. His funeral service was held Thursday afternoon.