Press Release on Friday's School Bus accident


Taghkanic, NY- Columbia County Sheriff David P. Bartlett reports that on November 8, 2019 at approximately 7:52am, Deputy Sheriffs were dispatched by Columbia County 911 to a personal injury school bus accident on Pumpkin Hollow Road, just east of County Route 27 in the Town of Taghkanic.

Deputies found that a 2005 ICRP bus, operated by 57 year old Christopher Fitch of Niverville NY, was driving eastbound on Pumpkin Hollow Road and for reasons still being investigated, drove off the south side of the roadway and struck a tree with the rear passenger side of the bus. After striking the tree, the bus came to rest back on the roadway.

Mr. Fitch complained of head and neck pain. He was transported to Albany Medical Center by Community Rescue Squad.

The school bus was occupied by 10 students at the time of the crash who were all checked at the scene. There were four students who all complained of head pain. Two students were transported to Columbia Memorial Hospital by Greenport Rescue Squad for evaluation. An additional student was transported to CMH by parents and the final student was transported to Copake Urgent Care by the student’s parents.

A bus was dispatched to the location to transport the remaining students who were not injured to Taconic Hills School.

Currently, K9 Sergeant Heath Benansky is conducting a commercial motor vehicle inspection of the bus. The bus is registered to Michael S. Johnston.

Community Rescue Squad, Greenport Rescue Squad, Taghkanic Fire Department, Columbia County Fire Coordinator’s Office, Columbia County Emergency Management, and the Town of Taghkanic Highway Department all assisted at the scene.

Investigating for the Sheriff’s Office are Sheriff David Bartlett, Undersheriff John Davi, Captain John DeRocha, Lieutenant Wayne Lopez, K9 Sergeant Heath Benansky, Sergeant Peter Grzeskow, Deputies Samantha Plass, Peter Merante, and Andrew Horst.

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