PHOTOS: Coughing fit blamed for Perkinsville head-on crash that sent three people to area hospitals

Injuries not believed to be life-threatening

PERKINSVILLE - Route 106 by the Springfield Airport was shut down for an hour Saturday evening by a head-on collision that occurred right in front of the intersection with Baltimore and Green Valley roads.

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    "I was just sitting around watching TV and I heard a huge smash that sounded like a gunshot and screaming so I came running outside and I saw the two cars," recalled resident Adam Debartollo who had just returned home from work shortly before mishap occurred.  "One was in the ditch and one was in the road.  I ran back in and told my mom to call 911.  Then I came running back out again trying to make sure everyone was okay."

West Weathersfield Fire Chief Josh Dauphin (center) oversaw the emergency response Saturday night

    Vermont State Police troopers said the crash was caused by a driver from Chester who told them he'd been headed south when he started coughing and then apparently drifted clear across the road into the northbound lane where he struck a car occupied by an older couple from Ludlow.

    That description matched Debartollo's recollection of the scene he found moments after the impact.

    "The one guy (who got hit) was in still in the road.  He said the other guy was driving on the wrong side of the road.  He was bleeding from the forehead and his wife was crying in the passenger side," Debartollo said.  "The guy that caused the accident was standing in the road on the phone.  His car was in the ditch but he looked perfectly fine to me."

    Trooper Tyler Noyes said the police investigation was still on-going and Trooper Gary Salvatore added "We'll be doing further investigation back at the hospital to see if there is any possible impairment.  Right now we don't know.  Right now there is no alcohol in his system but we'll be checking for anything else that could have possibly caused him to drift into the opposite lane.   He claims that he coughed and that's possible."

    The 8:45 p.m. crash brought volunteer firefighters from the West Weathersfield and Ascutney fire departments to the scene along with a pair of ambulances from Golden Cross and Springfield.

    West Weathersfield Fire Chief Joshua Dauphin said that an early report that one of the cars was on fire turned out to be unfounded, although one vehicle was smoking, and that his firefighters initially assisted the ambulance crews with the three patients and then turned their attention to cleaning up and reopening the usually quiet Route 106.  

    One of the patients was transported to Mount Ascutney Hospital and the other two were taken to Springfield Hospital.    

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