North Greenbush, NY – A drunk driver struck two New York state troopers and a tow truck driver on Interstate 90 on Sunday morning.
The incident began when New York State Police Troopers Brent Karow and Shane Swartz responded to a single-vehicle accident on I-90 in East Greenbush at about 4 a.m. on March 4.
When they arrived on the scene, the troopers set up flares and emergency lighting to block off the left lane, and called for a tow truck to remove a 2011 Subaru from the median of the highway, WPIX reported.
At about 5:16 a.m., motorists began calling 911 to report a crash involving a police vehicle on I-90.
Dispatchers attempted to raise Troopers Karow and Swartz on the radio, but were unable to reach them. Additional troopers responded to the location, New York Upstate reported.
State police said that a drunk driver had failed to move his 2010 Mercury to the right of the flares, and struck both troopers and one of the tow truck operators with his car at full speed.
"The vehicle was marked off. The lights were on. Flares were out. It was lit up like a Christmas tree. There's no reason why he shouldn't have seen it," said New York State Police Major Robert Patnaude at a press briefing.
Both troopers were thrown after they were hit. Trooper Karow, 34, was thrown about 70 feet into the median, New York Upstate reported.
Police said Trooper Swartz, 34, was thrown, too, and was found trapped underneath the tow truck.
The second tow truck driver wasn’t hit by Neumann’s car, but he was injured by flying debris resulting from the collision.
North Greenbush PD, New York State Police, ambulances and firefighters rushed to the scene and found the troopers and tow truck drivers injured by the crash.
Police released a statement that said both troopers were in serious, but stable condition, after suffering multiple cuts, broken bones and internal injuries.
Trooper Karow, a six-year veteran of the New York State Police, required surgery to control internal bleeding, and was in the intensive care unit at Albany Medical Center, according to New York Upstate.
Trooper Swartz, a four-year veteran of the state police, underwent a long surgery Sunday afternoon. He was in serious condition following the operation, which had been expected to take six to seven hours.
"We try to put them in the best position to keep from getting hurt, it's an inherently dangerous job," Major Patnaude said. "We give them the vehicles with the lights, the vests, all the equipment we give them but you can't protect against everything. In a case like this they did everything right."
Police said that Neumann suffered a cut on his face and some other minor injuries, but that he had been treated and released into police custody on Sunday.
Neumann pleaded not guilty in North Greenbush town court and was sent to the Rensselaer County jail. He was being held without bond, WNYT reported.
His next court appearance is Friday.
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