Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009
NEW YORK ó A Salisbury man is in critical condition after he suffered severe burns in a collision involving three tractor-trailers Monday in the village of Waverly.
According to the Morning Times newspaper in Sayre, Pa., a tractor-trailer drove into the path of a tractor-trailer driven by Bobby T. Leach, 44, who was on Route 17 near the Tioga/Chemung county line.
New York State Police said a preliminary investigation indicated that around 10:20 p.m., a tractor-trailer operated by Gregory Blackwell, 33, of Tioga, Pa., was headed westbound on Route 17 and entered a construction zone where traffic merged into two-way traffic on the eastbound lanes.
Blackwell’s truck continued through this area into the designated eastbound lane of travel and hit Leach head-on.
Another tractor-trailer that was following Leach’s vehicle became involved, police said.
That truck, driven by Gary Nadvormik, 58, of Madison, Ohio, was struck by Blackwell’s tractor-trailer.
Police said all three tractor trailers came to rest at the edge of the construction zone and caught fire. Witnesses nearby reported several explosions at the scene.
Based on a report from the Press and Sun-Bulletin in Greater Binghamton, N.Y., fuel tanks on the trucks ruptured and the flour on Leach’s trailer ignited. Blackwell was not carrying a load and Nadvormik was carrying plastic sidewalk ramps.
Jeff Wheeler, an assistant chief for the Waverly-Barton Fire Department, who was first at the crash site, told the Star-Gazette of Elmira, N.Y. that “It was a scene out of hell.”
Leach emerged from the wreck on fire, he said. Emergency workers wrapped him in blankets to put out the flames.
Leach was initially taken to Robert Packer Hospital in Pennsylvania and eventually flown to University Hospital in Syracuse for treatment of extensive burns to his body.
Blackwell died as a result of the accident, police said.
Nadvomik was also taken to Robert Packer Hospital, where he was treated and released.
The accident closed down the roads for nearly 24 hours.