Editor's Note: This story was corrected to reflect Mr. Bovair was headed back to the nursing home from a medical appointment.
QUEENSBURY — The Queensbury man who died Friday after he was hurt in the nursing home van in which he was riding suffered broken ribs and a broken back in the incident, but police did not know Monday what caused his death.
The state Department of Health has joined the Warren County Sheriff’s Office in investigating the death of Peter D. Bovair, 70, after the van he was in stopped short Friday in traffic on Main Street and he was thrown from his wheelchair.
Bovair was a resident of the Warren Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing and was being taken back to the home from a medical appointment around 5 p.m. for an unspecified reason when he was hurt.
Police said the wheelchair he was in was secured in the van, but he was not wearing a restraint to keep him in the wheelchair. Police said there was a restraint in the vehicle for a passenger such as Bovair, and they were researching whether a belt was legally required.
Warren County sheriff’s Lt. Steve Stockdale said the driver of the van told police another vehicle stopped short in front of the Warren Center van. He said the driver of the vehicle ahead of the van did not remain at the scene, as no collision occurred, and had not been located.
An autopsy was performed on Bovair over the weekend at Albany Medical Center, and Stockdale said the cause of death was found to be internal trauma.
Stockdale said it was unclear whether any tickets or criminal charges were going to be filed. He said it is often difficult to tell whether the responsibility lies with the person who stops short in front of a vehicle, or whether the vehicle behind is to blame for a crash or near-crash.
State Vehicle & Traffic Law states that a “driver of a motor vehicle shall not follow another vehicle more closely than is reasonable and prudent, having due regard for the speed of such vehicles and the traffic upon and the condition of the highway.”
A spokesman for the Department of Health said the agency had no comment on the matter as of Monday.
“The Department’s investigation into the death of a resident at Warren Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing is ongoing,” said agency spokesman Jeffrey Hammond. “As this remains an active investigation, we cannot comment further.”
Jeffrey Jacomowitz, a spokesman for Centers Health Care, which owns the home, said the company’s investigation was ongoing Monday.