Death on the roads: Three fatal crashes in the Catskills

It's been a horrible week for car crashes in the Catskills, with three separate collisions in the region resulting in fatalities since Sunday. 

A crash killed four people around noon in the Ulster County village of Saugerties on Wednesday, Aug. 26, according to media reports. Saugerties Police Chief Joseph Sinagra spoke with the Daily Freeman this afternoon and confirmed that the crash was fatal, and later elaborated that four people died.

Time Warner Cable is reporting that four people died in the Saugerties crash today when their car drove over an embankment: 

The vehicle went 250 to 350 feet down the embankment flipping onto its roof and hitting a house on Dock Street, authorities said. What caused the car to go over the embankment is still under investigation but residents said it's easy to mistake the embankment for a road if you are not from here.

The Freeman, which had a reporter at the scene, posted a photo of a badly-damaged car resting on its roof in the street. According to the Ulster County Fire/Rescue Incidents Facebook, a helicopter was called to transport victims of the crash.

In a crash on Sunday, Aug. 23, a 27-year-old man from Saugerties was killed when his car slammed head-on into a car carrying a family of three on Route 9W in the Greene County town of Catskill.

The Daily Mail has been following the story, and reports that investigators think that 27-year-old Joshua Lattanzio of Saugerties was speeding when the crash occurred:

“The man who died lost control when he went over the top of the hill from the high speed,” [Greene County Sheriff Greg] Seeley said. “His car went sideways in the road, and the oncoming car hit it head on.”

The impact was so great that both cars caught on fire, the Mail reports. Lattanzio died at the scene, while all three members of the family in the other car, including a 6-year-old boy, were injured but survived the crash. A GoFundMe page has been set to support them

And as we wrote yesterday, one person died in another head-on collision on Tuesday, Aug. 25 in the Ulster County town of Olive, according to State Police Captain Robert Nuzzo. The victims of that crash have not yet been identified publicly.

On Thursday, Aug. 27, the New York State Police told the Daily Freeman that 64-year-old Dolores Falkowski of Phoenicia died in the Olive crash. According to the State Police, 31-year-old Danny Griffin of Lanesville ran into Falkowski head-on when he drifted into the opposite lane:

About 7:30 a.m. Tuesday, a 2001 Toyota Sienna van driven by Danny Griffin, 31, of Lanesville, was westbound on Route 28 when it drifted into the eastbound lane, according to Senior Investigator Chris Baker.

Robert Olsen, 71, of West Shokan, who was driving a Town of Olive 1999 Crown Victoria eastbound, saw Griffin’s vehicle approaching and swerved off the road to avoid a collision and was “just barely hit” by Griffin’s van, Baker said.

Griffin continued west in the eastbound lane, striking the 2008 Subaru Impreza being driven by Falkowski, 64, head on, he said. 

In addition to these fatal crashes, there have been numerous other non-fatal collisions, including four on Route 28 in Ulster County and two involving motorcycles on Route 32, which runs through the Greene County town of Catskill and the Ulster County town of Saugerties.

On Sunday, Aug. 23, 43-year-old James J. Macklin of Cairo was in critical condition after the motorcycle he was riding struck a guardrail on Route 32, according to the New York State Police and the Daily Mail.

Then, on Monday, Aug. 24, 55-year-old motorcyclist Laurence M. Ridings was hit by a car trying to make a left turn on Route 32 and sustained multiple injuries, according to the Daily Freeman

It's only Wednesday. Here's hoping that the rest of the week is a quiet one. 

Correction: Joseph Sinagra is the police chief for the town of Saugerties, not the fire chief. Hat tip to eagle-eyed reader David Ghent.