QUEENSBURY — The investigation of a July fatal truck crash on the Northway was continuing this week as State Police await information that will help determine whether the driver who survived the crash will face charges.
Investigators are awaiting documents subpoenaed as part of the investigation into the July 17 crash near Exit 18 that claimed the life of Scott W. Rorapaugh, 61, of York Haven, Pennsylvania.
Rorapaugh drove into a crashed tractor-trailer that was believed to have been in the travel lane on the northbound side before dawn that morning. His truck burst into flames, and he could not escape the cab.
The truck Rorapaugh hit had been driven by a Massachusetts man who authorities believe lied about how his truck came to be prone on its side on the highway.
That driver, Everon J. Meadows, 50, of Springfield, Massachusetts, was outside his truck when the collision happened and was not hurt.
He initially told troopers he had stopped his tractor-trailer on the shoulder of the highway because of a maintenance issue, and the tractor-trailer that hit his veered off the road.
But evidence from the scene and from witnesses did not match that version of events, according to State Police. Authorities said Meadows admitted he had fallen asleep and that his truck hit guiderails and rolled on its side moments before it was hit by the oncoming 18-wheeler. He has not been charged.
Meadows was driving a load of produce to a local Hannaford store, a job that was a part-time position for him on the side from a full-time truck driving job.
State Police located at least one driver who saw a Hannaford truck driving “erratically” in the area moments before the crash, and another driver called 911 to report a truck rollover at Exit 18 shortly before the collision was reported.
State Police are looking into whether Meadows had the legally required amount of rest and kept an accurate driving log. He could face charges in connection with Rorapaugh’s death and for making a false statement.
State Police Senior Investigator Bill Shea said the inquiry was ongoing as of Monday.
Warren County District Attorney Jason Carusone said his office was awaiting a meeting with State Police when their portion of the investigation is complete to decide what charges, if any, will be filed.
Rorapaugh was taking fertilizer and paper products to northern New York.
A fundraiser was set up on Go Fund Me to help his family with funeral expenses and his widow with other expenses.
“He was a hardworking, honest, loving family man who leaves behind a wife, three children, two grandchildren and many other loved ones and friends,” his daughter, Aleena Rorapaugh, wrote on the fundraiser page. “The circumstances of the accident are beyond our understanding, but we pray for a thorough investigation which will provide answers to hopefully allow for the start of some closure for our family and, ultimately, justice for my father.”
Don Lehman covers police and court matters and Warren County government. He can be reached at 518-742-3224 or email@example.com