Four TH students and driver injured in school bus accident

Four students and the driver were hurt when a school bus went off Pumpkin Hollow Road in Taghkanic. Photo contributed

TAGHKANIC—Several children and the bus driver were hurt in a school bus accident on Pumpkin Hollow Road just east of County Route 27, November 8 at 7:52 a.m.

Columbia County 911 dispatched Sheriff’s deputies to the scene. They determined that a 66-passenger 2005 ICRP bus operated by Christopher Fitch, 57, of Niverville was headed east on Pumpkin Hollow Road when for reasons still under investigation, the bus went off the south side of the road and struck a tree with its rear passenger side.

After striking the tree, the bus came to rest back on the roadway, according to a press release from Columbia County Sheriff David P. Bartlett.

The Community Rescue Squad took Mr. Fitch with complaints of head and neck pain to the Albany Medical Center for treatment.

The school bus was occupied by 10 Taconic Hills School students, ranging in age from 8- to 15-years-old, who were all checked at the scene. Four students complained of head pain. The Greenport Rescue Squad took two of them to Columbia Memorial Hospital by for evaluation. One student was driven to CMH by his/her parents and the parents of the final student took the child to Copake Rapid Care.

A bus was sent to the scene to transport the remaining uninjured students to the Taconic Hills School.

K9 Sergeant Heath Benansky conducted a commercial motor vehicle inspection of the bus, which is registered to Michael S. Johnston. The school district contracts with Mr. Johnston for use of the bus and driver.

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

Investigating for the Sheriff’s Office were Sheriff 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.


A local woman was taken to the hospital after this rollover accident in Hillsdale. Photo contributed

A Hillsdale woman was hurt in a one-vehicle roll-over crash on County Route 21, just east of Caso Lane, November 2 at 11:11 a.m.

Columbia County 911 summoned Sheriff’s deputies to the scene, where they found that a 2017 Lexus R450, operated by Doris Lindbergh, 70, of Hillsdale had been traveling east on County Route 21.

For unknown reasons, the vehicle went off the south side of the road and struck a ditch, which caused the it to overturn and come to rest on its roof, according to a press release from Sheriff Bartlett.

The Greenport Rescue Squad took the operator, who was alone in the vehicle, to Fairview Hospital in Great Barrington, MA, for treatment of head and chest pain.

The accident is still under investigation at this time.

The Greenport Rescue Squad and Hillsdale Fire Company assisted at the scene.

Investigating for the Sheriff’s Office are Sergeant Jeffrey Hofstetter, Deputies Peter Merante and Andrew Horst.


The following face drug- and/or alcohol-related charges:

*A State Police Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) Sobriety Checkpoint resulted in several arrests. State troopers from Troop K, Zone 1 in Columbia County conducted a DWI sobriety checkpoint at the Rip Van Winkle Bridge approach, Greenport, October 26.

As a result, the following arrests were made: Jahmir Barnett-Williams, 20, of Hudson for DWI and unlawful possession of marijuana; Brandon Borst, 18, of Loch Sheldrake for seventh degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and unlawful possession of marijuana; Brandon Dick, 18, of Red Hook for seventh degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and unlawful possession of marijuana.

All were processed and ordered to appear in Greenport Court at a later date.

In a press release, State Police Captain David Kolb said, “Several drivers thanked us for being out there.” He also noted several ride sharing services traveled through the checkpoint, and that some of the riders told the troopers they hired the service because they felt they had too much to drink and safely drive.

*Laura B. Clark, 54, of Austerlitz was charged with aggravated DWI by State Police after they were called to the Canaan exit on I-90 for a report of an intoxicated person who was stopped in the lane at the Thruway toll, October 31 at 7:10 p.m.

Ms. Clark was found to be allegedly intoxicated. She was taken to SP Albany where her blood alcohol content was determined to be 0.30%. (more than three times the legal limit.) She was charged and released to a sober third party with appearance tickets returnable in Canaan Court November 14.

To contact Diane Valden email

Charges dropped in DWI case

CLAVERACK—Charges against Peter Hayes of Mellenville stemming from a January 15 traffic stop by a Columbia County Sheriff’s deputy on County Route 11 have been dropped.

A letter dated April 19, 2019 from Columbia County Assistant District Attorney Trevor O. Flike to Claverack Justice Michael Brandon states, “The People, respectfully, decline to prosecute the above named defendant’s charges for Driving While Intoxicated in violation of Vehicle and Traffic Law Sec. 8 1192.2 and 1192.3 and any other tickets issued as part of the arrest on January 15, 2019. The arrest appeared in the January 31 issue of The Columbia Paper.

Major Mazzone assigns new leadership

Captain David W. Kolb (r) and Lieutenant Scott Hurley. Photo contributed

LIVINGSTON—Captain David W. Kolb has been named Troop K, Zone 1 commander and Lieutenant Scott Hurley is the new Zone 1 lieutenant.

The assignments were made by State Police Troop K Commander Major Richard L. Mazzone, and were effective September 5.

Captain David Kolb started his career as a trooper in 1992 working in Troop K, Zone 1 and for two years in the Governor’s Protective Service Unit before returning to Troop K in 2000. He was promoted to the rank of sergeant in 2001 serving first in Troop F and later in Troop K. As a sergeant, Capt. Kolb, served as station commander of both the Rhinebeck and Livingston barracks. He then served as the Emergency Management non-commissioned officer of Troop G beginning in 2005 prior to being promoted to the rank of lieutenant in 2014. Lt. Kolb was initially assigned to Troop F, and the Internal Affairs Bureau, before returning to Troop K in 2016, eventually being assigned as the assistant Zone 1 commander. Capt. Kolb was promoted to his present rank in 2018. He first served as the troop executive officer at Troop K Headquarters, before being assigned to his current assignment as the zone commander for Zone 1. Capt. Kolb has earned two Letters of Commendation from the superintendent, and one Superintendent’s Award throughout his career.

He assumes the post previously held by Captain Kathryne M. Rohde who is new assistant director of training at the State Police Academy.

Lieutenant Scott Hurley joined the State Police as a trooper in 2000, and was assigned to numerous stations in both Putnam and Dutchess counties. In 2006 he was promoted to the permanent rank of sergeant, and was also appointed investigator on the same day. He was initially assigned as an investigator to the SP Wappinger barracks until 2012, when he joined the State Police Computer Crimes Unit, responsible for digital investigations in all four Troop K counties. Upon his promotion to lieutenant in 2015, he was assigned to the Bureau of Criminal Investigation in Troop K, until transferring to Zone 1 as the assistant zone commander in December 2018.

Both officers bring knowledge and experience with them to Zone 1 Headquarters SP Livingston.

Troop K Zone 1 has five barracks including satellite installations, serving 24 towns, and 7 villages in Columbia and northern Dutchess counties.

Comments are closed.