Chain Reaction

SHERIDAN – Several people were injured, including a Chautauqua County Sheriff’s deputy, in a pileup accident Thursday which closed more than 3 miles of Route 5. The 12-vehicle accident – believed to have been caused by wintry conditions – involved nearly 20 people.

Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office and New York State Police responded to the incident at 2400 Route 5 near St. Columban’s On The Lake at 11:53 a.m. According to police, the eastbound patrol car activated its lights as it came upon numerous vehicles stopped in the eastbound lane due to whiteout conditions. A vehicle traveling behind the patrol car had stopped, waiting for the driving lane to clear. Another vehicle, also traveling east, crashed into the stopped vehicle causing a chain reaction.

“(It was) a chain reaction accident. There were some accidents that happened afterward but it was all related to the whiteout incident. It was absolutely terrible weather conditions,” said Chautauqua County Undersheriff Charles Holder.

The collision forced the patrol car into the middle of the roadway which was then hit by a multi-axle Mack truck traveling east. The patrol car was then hit by two other vehicles. Scott Butler, divisional director of business development for Lake Shore Hospital, confirmed three people were taken by ambulance to Lake Shore for injuries. Six people were taken to Brooks Memorial Hospital for various injuries, as confirmed by the hospital.

“Six people were brought to our facility from the motor vehicle accident for injuries of a varying degree to be treated in our emergency room,” said Terry Dunford, director of corporate communication for Brooks Memorial Hospital.

Holder confirmed a sheriff deputy was transferred from Brooks Memorial Hospital to Hamot Medical Center in Erie, Pa., for apparent not life-threatening injuries. He said it appeared the deputy sustained the worst injury from the accident, noting the other injuries of those involved were believed to be not life-threatening.

“He’s being checked out but he was conscious and communicating with us when he left Brooks (Hospital), so that’s good,” Holder said.

Multiple fire departments and ambulances from several area companies responded to the scene. Fire departments from Sheridan, East Town Dunkirk, Silver Creek and Forestville, in addition to Alstar Ambulance and County Emergency Services responded to transport patients. Names of those involved were not released by police pending notification of families. The investigation is continuing. No charges have been filed.