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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.

 

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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.

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