Fiery border crash kills three

A fiery early morning crash near the state border claimed three lives Nov. 14 as a car that left the road burned after striking a bridge abutment.

Of the four people in the vehicle, three were pronounced dead shortly after the 12:30 a.m. crash, Fair Haven Vt. police said.

The victims were all said to be adults, likely three male subjects.

The sole survivor of the crash, a female passenger, was transported the Fletcher Allen Medical Center in Burlington with a serious head injury. Her condition was not immediately available.

The female and a male passenger were removed from the vehicle by passing truck drivers.

While en route from the scene of the crash to Rutland Regional Hospital the male passenger removed from the vehicle succumbed to his injuries.

While the man’s burns did not appear life threatening, internal injuries are suspected as the cause of death.

All three victims will be autopsied, police said.

Flames overtook the vehicle before the truckers could remove the final two occupants, who were pronounced dead at the scene. The driver and driver’s side passenger could not escape the vehicle, police said.

None of the names of the victims have been released and the condition of the two people trapped in the vehicle has hampered effort to make a positive identification, Fair Haven Police Chief William Humphries said Monday. 

Officials said a 2010 Toyota Camry traveling east on Route 4 crashed into a bridge abutment approximately a quarter mile from the border separating Whitehall, NY from Fair Haven, Vt. and caught fire.

The Camry was rented in Brooklyn and was possibly bound for Rutland, police said.

The car had just passed the off-ramp for the Vermont Welcome Center when it left the road and traveled for approximately 300 feet along the grassy median before striking the bridge.

Humphries said it was likely the driver fell asleep at the wheel given no skid marks or signs of braking were found at the scene. No signs of the crash being linked to alcohol were found at the scene, he said.

The eastbound lanes of Route 4 were closed for about four hours during the accident investigation, police said.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

Agencies from both sides of the border including Skenesboro EMS, Whitehall Police, New York State Police, Vermont State Police, Castleton Police and the Fair Haven and Poultney Fire departments responded to the crash scene.

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