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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Almost Same Location As The Day Before-

Second Plunge from I-81


January 26, 2004

By Jim Read and Mike McAndrew
Staff writers

A retired Air Force colonel Sunday became the second motorist in two days to die in Syracuse after their vehicles flipped over Interstate 81 guardrails on a raised portion of highway and landed on the road below.

William G. Gardner, 50, a Lyons native who worked in NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., was driving a rented Kia sport utility vehicle to Syracuse Hancock International Airport Sunday morning when his car plunged over the I-81 overpass and landed on Park Street, said Sgt. Tom Connellan, speaking for Syracuse police.

The accident occurred a few hundred yards north of Friday's accident, which killed Jason Rhoades, a former East Syracuse mayor. It was at least the fourth crash since 1994 where a vehicle flipped over I-81 concrete guardrails where snow was packed.

State Department of Transportation crews closed a section of I-81's northbound lanes between Court and Seventh North streets until just before 7 p.m. Sunday to clear snow that plows had pushed against the guardrails on highway shoulders.

Part of Park Street and access ramps at Court and Butternut streets and Hiawatha Boulevard were temporarily closed.

At midnight Sunday, DOT planned to close the same section of I-81's southbound lanes for several hours, so crews could clear snow from the southbound shoulders, said Anthony Ilacqua, assistant to the state DOT's regional director in Syracuse. I-81's southbound lanes were to reopen before today's rush hour, he said.

Gardner's rented SUV landed in the left-turn lane near Park Street at Harborside Drive, an entrance to Carousel Center, shortly before 9 a.m. Park Street is busy on Sundays after the mall opens, Connellan said. On Sundays, the mall opens at 11 a.m.

"We were extremely lucky this didn't happen later," Connellan said.

Customers of the Market Diner, 2100 Park St., flocked to the front windows after the SUV came crashing down.

"I grabbed my coat and went out to see if there was anything I could do," said diner owner Kris Marinos. "One of the vendors at the (regional) market had seen the crash and went into the market to get an off-duty cop that was there."

An ambulance that had been stationed at Carousel Center was at the crash site within a few minutes, Marinos said.

Connellan said ice covered the section of interstate where the SUV went off the road.

Ilacqua said not enough is known about the circumstances of the Gardner crash to comment on any problems with the road. He said he could not say if snow that DOT crews plowed onto the shoulders of I-81's northbound lanes contributed to Gardner's vehicle flipping over the guardrail.

"If it (snow) was a factor, it makes sense to get rid of it," Ilacqua said.

He said the recent snowy weather has kept DOT crews continually busy clearing the driving lanes on I-81, and workers have not had time to clear the shoulders.

"This is work we try to accomplish as we have time," Ilacqua said.

Elevated roads are colder than roads on the soil because air circulates underneath, lowering temperatures to that of the surrounding air. Temperatures in Syracuse at the time of the accident were a few degrees below zero.

Ilacqua said DOT uses 25 plows to clear snow from I-81 and the other state highways in the eastern portion of Onondaga County.

Connellan said that while investigators began working on Sunday's crash, they still were looking for the cause of Friday's accident.

Rhoades, 28, of Tully, died when his GMC Envoy skidded across two lanes of the highway, hit a snowbank and jumped the concrete barrier. The Envoy flipped as it plunged, landing on its roof behind McLaren's Automotive, 2091 Park St.

Rhoades had been towing snowmobiles and was on his way to Canada to enjoy one of his favorite activities, police and family said.

Last May, the state's Court of Claims dismissed a lawsuit filed over an accident in February 1994 when the driver went over the barrier on the southbound lane of I-81 at the Park Street overpass.

Anne Vislosky's 1989 Lincoln struck a snowbank on the road shoulder and vaulted to the top of the bank were the car teetered a moment before toppling to the frozen surface of Ley Creek, 60 feet below. Vislosky, of North Syracuse, was injured but survived.

In his ruling, Judge Philip J. Patti said Vislosky failed to show the existence of a dangerous condition requiring snow removal at the time of the accident.

A Manlius man also survived a plunge off I-81.

Michael Person, 18, was driving north on I-81 last February when the GMC Jimmy he was driving flipped over the barrier at the Interstate 690 and I-81 interchange.

The SUV landed 30 feet below, where it hit a tree and crushed a Jeep parked in the lot below. After striking the Jeep, Person's SUV became airborne again, flying across the parking lot and landed on top of two other cars.

Person suffered cuts and a broken wrist. Police said hard-packed snow on the shoulder of the highway might have been a factor in the accident. Contributing writer Saba Ali contributed to this story.


© 2004 The Post-Standard. Used with permission.


From My Neck Of The Woods - AnyBody Else Think NYS Is Going To Be Paying Up ?
 

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Nick, nothing handles like a Nissan Sentra!!! (Just kidding, it beats my 1991 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme that usually spends more time out of commission than on the road).
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Nick said:
People drive around in the snow thinking their SUV's are invincible.

Nick
Thats The Problem. It was no snow on the ground. It had been plowed and up against the guard rail forming a ramp. People crash into the guard rails there all the time. This time the snow caused them to jump over. During the investigation we noticed the guardrails were untouched. The snow protected it. Also a question. Maybe you state police guys could help. After the second accident the mayor of our city ordered a 6 mile stretch closed until the snow removed. He had us (the traffic unit) Stand by to be sure no one gets by (with bericades some idiots go around). The problem isnt that. There are not really many onramps after the site of the crash, thus such a large stretch being closed. So half the area was not even in our city. Can the mayor Order an interstate to be closed ? Even if some of the effected area is in another city ? And can the mayor (as he did) Order the DOT to remove the snow? They are not his employees but since its maintained by them and in city limits could he make them do something like that ?
 

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I did a detail with a crew installing guardrails a few months back. It was kind of interesting, because the guy was telling me about how they get sued everytime someone dies in a guardrail related accident, and they have to go pull up the guardrails and measure depth, and test for levels and strength of materials, to prove that they were in the right. Who would have ever thought there was so much strapping a piece of metal to a post in the ground?
 

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It is amazing how much engineering is guardrails, and how they are designed to absorb energy. (BTW, aboout 65% are improperly installed - too strong, don't give when they are supposed to).

CFNY, I've never heard of a mayor shutting down an interstate, that's usually our job. We did have a fatal last winter on one of our roads where the snow formed a ramp and launched a woman over the guardrail and down an embankment.
 

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I love when people start talking about the 'Evil SUV' They act like the SUV is an evil entity with a mind of it's own. "SUV kills two in Fatal Accident on RTE 95" or "SUV Hurtles Over Edge of Parking Garage Killing Driver" Hmm....these SUVs are really evil creatures. :shock: Do you think maybe it's the DRIVER and not the SUV that causes the accident! :lol: Somewhat similar to that old saying "Guns don't kill people, people kill people."
 

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Ladies and Gentlemen :Forget aliens from outer space, terrorists and Sadam...watch out for the SUVs. These horrible murderous creatures are wiping out our population. I mean just look at these actual headlines:

"NBC 4 - News - SUV Strikes, Kills 10-Year-Old Boy On Sidewalk"

"SUV's Plunge Into Anacostia Kills Driver (washingtonpost.com)"

Bad car...bad boy!

"SUV Hits Teenager, Slams Into Tree."

"SUV Involved in April Murder;"

Now they're murderers...

"San Diego Woman Hits Husband with SUV;"

SUV...the new weapon of choice!

"SUV hits median, flips, kills driver"

SUV Linked to Other Thefts

"LAKELAND -- A stolen Ford Expedition that became involved in a shooting by a Polk County sheriff's deputy had been taken Saturday in a crime spree that included another vehicle theft and 11 car burglaries in three South Lakeland gated communities, sheriff's officials said Monday."

Look! It appears this SUV has been wounded by a police officer and planned an entire crime spree all on it's own. Thank god it's in custody! Another criminal off the streets.
:shock: :shock:

People, the SUVs are out of control. But ALAS, we have found a job for the Sheriff's Departments new Special Response Units. The "SUV Task Force"--these SUVs need to be properly investigated and punished for thier actions. Together we can make a difference!
 

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SUV's Guns, snowmobiles, dirtbikes! They're all evil! Hopefully president Dean will ban them
:twisted:
 
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