Rombout firefighters perform difficult extrication in bitter cold to rescue trapped driver
Story By: Nik Bonopartis - Poughkeepsie Journal Photos By: Robert Reynolds & Gary Morgan
Fishkill, NY - January 20, 2004
Both lanes of Route 82 near McGrath Terrace were closed for about eight hours Tuesday after a Fishkill man drove off the road and struck a utility pole, snapping it in half.
The vehicle continued with its rear wheels suspended on a metal guard rail and struck a tree before coming to a stop about 7:40 a.m., Fishkill town police Chief Donald Williams said.
The driver, 56-year-old Stanley A. Rusakowicz, had to be extricated from his vehicle by Rombout and New Hackensack firefighters, Rombout spokesman Kevin Barry said. Firefighters had to work around downed power lines that blocked the road to get to Rusakowicz’s car.
Rusakowicz was taken by ambulance to a nearby shopping center parking lot, where he was put in a state police helicopter and airlifted to Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla. The hospital would not release information on Rusakowicz’s condition.
A Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp. crew was dispatched about 8 a.m. and had to install a new pole before the loose wires could be removed from the road, utility spokeswoman Denise VanBuren said. About 100 customers had their power disrupted and it was restored by 12:45 p.m., VanBuren said.
One place that lost power was Brinckerhoff Elementary School. Interim Principal Christine Brady said most students already had arrived to school. Officials were worried about losing heat in the building, but were told power would return shortly and decided to go on with the school day.
'’It’s a bright day and the classrooms were well-lit, even though we didn’t have electricity,’’ Brady said. ‘‘Miraculously, the power came back on and we’re still here.’’
Traffic was backed up on Route 82 Tuesday morning as drivers were diverted to other routes. Hughsonville firefighters assisted Rombout firefighters in handling traffic.