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Four drivers involved as icy roads send cars into ditches on Thruway ramp

Slippery road conditions and a Good Samaritan's efforts to help resulted in two cars in ditches next to the state Thruway exit ramp from I-90 East to the westbound Youngmann just before 10 a.m. Sunday.

New York State Police, as well as more than a dozen volunteers from Snyder and U-Crest Fire & Rescue in Cheektowaga responded to the scene, which brought traffic between the two highways to a crawl as the left lane of the ramp was closed. Two AMR ambulances also responded, and at least one person appeared to be loaded onto a stretcher and into an ambulance.

Two cars - one red sedan and one gray sedan - were in ditches on the opposite sides of the highway ramp, while another vehicle remained in the roadway at the front of the scene. At least nine emergency vehicles were onsite.

The Buffalo News attempted to get additional information at the scene but a reporter was ordered to leave by two state police officers, who claimed that the newspaper needed permission to be there because the Thruway is not a public highway but a private road owned by the Thruway Authority.

"You're on the Thruway, and unless you get permission from the Thruway Authority to respond on the scene, you can't be on private property," an officer named L.A. Kasniak told The Buffalo News.

However, the Thruway Authority is a public authority authorized under New York State law, under the administration of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, who appoints its leadership.

State Police Sgt. Christopher Endres told the Buffalo News by phone later that the incident began when one of the vehicles ran off the road on the left side and needed to be pulled out with a winch. A second driver pulled over to help and started walking to the scene when he was struck in the hand by a third vehicle that was coming around the curve in the ramp. That individual suffered a hand laceration, but police called the ambulance for him anyway.

Then the driver of a fourth vehicle told The Buffalo News that he was trying to avoid the emergency responders when he slid into the back of an ambulance.

Ice appears to be at least one factor in the crash.

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