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New Ashford Crash Turns Fatal for Williamstown Man

Staff Reports


Update: Frank C. Burgmaster, 52, died Wednesday of injuries sustained in the accident.

NEW ASHFORD, Mass. — A Williamstown man will be charged with driving under the influence for the third time after his pickup truck collided head-on with another truck late Tuesday afternoon on Route 7.

According to state police, Frank C. Burgmaster, 52, was headed northbound in a 1996 black Dodge Ram when he crossed the center line near Roys Road on the New Ashford Road just after 5 p.m., nearly hitting another car.

That driver was able to avoid a collision, but Burgmaster then plowed head-on into a 2009 red Toyota Tacoma driven by Savita Wheat, 22, of Pownal, Vt.

Both vehicles ended up on the center line and both drivers were transported to Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield. Burgmaster's injuries were described as serious.

Police, fire and two ambulances responded to the scene. Cars were forced to turn around at the scene and diverted to Route 43 for more than an hour until the scene was cleared.

Burgmaster will be summonsed to face charges of driving under the influence of alcohol, third offense, negligent operation of a motor vehicle and marked lanes violation.

Updated and rewritten throughout, 8:58 p.m.


Tags: head-on, accident, ambulance, DUI, fatal      

High-Speed Chase Ends in Crash

Staff Reports

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — A high-speed chase on Saturday night ended with a single-car crash on Route 2 that sent three of the vehicle's occupants to the hospital.

According to police, Michael Gancarz, 18, of Lime Street, Adams, was traveling north on Howland Avenue at speeds in excess of 100 mph in a 2006 Subaru Impreza at about 9:30.

The vehicle was totaled; booms can be seen near where the car landed to contain any oil leakage.

Adams Police pursued and contacted North Adams Police. Within minutes, the Subaru had smashed through the guardrails and a stop sign at the intersection of Curran Memorial Highway and South State Street, near The Range miniature golf course.

The car went airborne and landed in a ditch near the near a body of  water.

Passengers Justin Meczywor, 17, of Clarksburg and two girls whose names were not released because of their ages were taken to North Adams Regional Hospital.

Gancarz was charged by Adams Police with operating a vehicle with intent to endanger, failing to stop for police, a marked-lanes violation and speeding.



Tags: motor vehicle, accident, injuries      

Williamstown Accident Sends Three to Hospital

Williamstown Police Department

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The three-car accident in front of the Spruces on Tuesday afternoon sent the three people involved to the hospital.

According to police, Elin Ozdemir, 79, of Emerald Lane, the Spruces, was stopped in the eastbound lane of Main Street waiting to turn left into the mobile home park at about 3:20 p.m. when she was struck from behind by a 2002 Honda Odyssey operated by Nicole Deblois, 38, of Dalton.

The collision pushed Ozdemir's 1992 Plymouth Acclaim into the westbound lane of Main Street, where she was then struck by a westbound 2010 Ford Escape, operated by Lenore Freeman, 61, of Williamstown.

Ozdemir's Plymouth ended up perpendicular to Main Street in the middle of the roadway. Deblois' Honda ended up on the eastbound sidewalk at the intersection with Hamel Avenue. Freeman's Ford veered right, jumped the curb, and traveled across the Spruces lawn, coming to rest near the fence of the Spruce's pool.

Williamstown Police and Fire, along with Village and North Adams Ambulance services responded to the scene. The Fire Department used the Jaws of Life to assist in extracting Ozdemir from her Plymouth.

All three operators were the sole occupants of their vehicles and all three were transported to North Adams Regional Hospital. None of the injuries appeared to be life threatening.

All three vehicles were towed from the scene, each with extensive damage. Deblois was cited for following too closely.

Tags: motor vehicle, accident, injuries      

Fatal Accident Closes Route 8 in Adams

Andy McKeever

A stretcher sits empty at the scene of a fatal accident in Adams on Friday.

ADAMS, Mass. — An accident on Route 8 Friday afternoon left a Florida woman dead.

Jill Keating, 46, of the town of Florida was killed after her Chevrolet Avalanche crashed into the back of a tractor-trailer that was preparing to take a left into Speciality Minerals at about 12:25 p.m. Friday afternoon, according to police.

Keating was pronounced dead on the scene and the driver of the tractor-trailer, Eduardo Manuel Nunes of Miami, Fla., was uninjured.

Route 8 was closed for about four hours and traffic was rerouted from Friend Street through the industrial park.

Emergency personnel on the scene were the Police Department, the Ambulance, the Fire Department, North Adams Ambulance and the Cheshire Fire Department. North Adams and State Police were requested for traffic assistance. The State Police Accident Reconstruction Team and the Truck Team were requested to investigate the accident.

A full investigation is still ongoing.

Tags: fatal, motor vehicle, accident      

Lenox Ambulance in Head-on Crash

Staff Reports

LENOX, Mass. — The town's ambulance is out of commission after it was involved in a head-on crash Thursday morning while transporting a patient to Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield.

Police Chief Stephen E. O'Brien said Lenox Ambulance was dispatched at 5:11 a.m. on Thursday to Curtis Housing on Main Street for a woman with abdominal pain. By 5:25, the firefighter emergency medical technicians Jason Saunders and Daniel Pirettihad had her on the way to Pittsfield. 

Saunders, who was driving the ambulance, reported six minutes later that it had been involved in a head-on motor vehicle crash on Main Street near the entrance to the Church on the Hill. 

Police said Matthew Bak, 20, of Cheshire, was operating a 1997 Chevy pickup GMT 400 southbound on Main Street when he fell asleep at the wheel, crossed the center line, and collided with the 2008 Ford E450 Type III ambulance.

Saunders requested aid from the Fire Department, two other ambulances and Lenox Police. 

The EMTs on the ambulance began caring for the other patients involved and, once more firefighters arrived, a third ambulance was requested for the personnel involved in the crash.

Saunders, 36, and Piretti, 27, who was caring for the patient in the back of the ambulance, were both treated at BMC for minor injuries and released after being transported by County Ambulance. The 83-year-old patient was taken to BMC with neck and back pain via another County Ambulance.

Bak complained of neck and back pain and was transported to BMC by Lee Ambulance.   

The crash remains under investigation and both criminal and civil charges are pending. There was extensive damage to both involved vehicles, which were towed away.

Although the town will be without an ambulance, Fire Chief Daniel W. Clifford said the Lenox Fire Department will continue to provide emergency medical services and will rely on mutual aid ambulance services for transport until a more permanent solution for a replacement ambulance becomes available.

Tags: head-on, accident, ambulance      
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