ARGYLE — The Washington County sheriff’s officer who was hurt in a crash that killed a local woman Monday initially told officers he didn’t remember what happened.
Deputy Cori Winch suffered a concussion and numerous other injuries in the Monday morning head-on crash on Route 40 that claimed the life of 72-year-old Argyle resident Susan Harrington.
Winch was released from Glens Falls Hospital on Monday afternoon, and Sheriff Jeff Murphy said it was unclear how long Winch would be out of work. He faces a lengthy recovery from a broken leg and hip injuries, which may require surgery.
State Police said it appeared Winch, 24, crossed a double yellow line and veered into the oncoming lane, but what caused him to cross the center line was unclear as of Tuesday, as he initially told responding officers he had no memory of the crash.
“He was asking, ‘What happened?’” Murphy said.
Police say an Argyle woman was killed and a Washington County sheriff's deputy injured in a head-on crash Monday morning on Route 40 in Argyle.
Winch was driving south after working the overnight shift and headed to shift change at the Sheriff’s Office station on Route 22 in Salem when the collision happened near the Sweet Road intersection.
Authorities said he was not operating with lights or siren on, having just finished investigating a minor accident moments earlier. There did not appear to be significant skid marks left by either vehicle at the crash scene, and the impact appeared to have occurred in the northbound lane.
State Police are investigating the crash, and Murphy said he has asked investigators to handle it as they would “any other accident” that didn’t involve a police vehicle.
State Police plan to analyze the computerized “black boxes” from both vehicles to determine what the drivers did in the moments before the crash.
An autopsy found that Harrington, who was pronounced dead at the crash scene, died from blunt force trauma.
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Harrington was wearing a seat belt and the airbags in her Honda CR-V deployed. But the bigger police Ford sport-utility vehicle, which was equipped with a metal “crash bar” on front, caved in the driver’s side front end of Harrington’s car. The police vehicle was heavily damaged as well.
She was headed to the Glens Falls YMCA for a morning swim.
Harrington was well-known to visitors of local farmers markets, where she and her partner, Joyce Paul, brought baked goods under the name Effie’s Baked Goods.
They could be found selling cookies, breads and other goodies at the markets in Glens Falls, Saratoga Springs and Queensbury for years in the 1990s and 2000s.
Argyle Supervisor Bob Henke said Harrington and Paul’s baked goods were well-known around town.
“It was a local icon for a while,” he said of the shop. “They made very good cookies and things.”
Harrington lived on Summit Lake for years, where she was part of the close-knit community on the small lake in the hills of Argyle.
“I’m heartbroken! Sue was such a great person,” friend Carol Mosher Burgess wrote on Facebook. “The world was a much better place with her in it.”
“A hard-working, big-hearted woman was lost,” wrote Fran Perry.
Calling hours for Harrington have been set for 2 to 4 p.m. Friday at the Argyle Fire Department station on Route 40, with a funeral service to follow at the firehouse.