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Chatham crash sends one to hospital

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The tow truck from George’s Reconditioning after the collision with a CSX train Thursday. Graham, 73, was rescue transported to St. Peter’s Hospital with a leg injury. The CSX operator, Russell Fancher, was uninjured.
January 3, 2018 11:43 am Updated: January 3, 2018 11:51 am

CHATHAM — One man was taken to the hospital after a CSX freight train collided with a tow truck while responding to another crash, police said.

Emergency personnel responded to the second accident in one hour at the intersection of Austerlitz and High streets Thursday, said Lt. Wayne Lopez with the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office.

The first accident occurred about an hour before the second accident, which happened at 3:37 p.m., Chatham Police Chief Peter Volkmann said.

George Graham, 73, of Valatie, was getting into his tow truck, which was partially parked on train tracks while responding to the first crash, Lopez said Friday. The truck was hit by a freight train operated by Russell Fancher, of Schenectady.

Graham suffered a leg injury and was rescue transported to St. Peter’s Hospital, Lopez said. Fancher was not injured.

No tickets were issued to either parties.

Graham and his tow truck were responding to an unrelated accident in Chatham when they were hit, Lopez said. The tow truck, a 2009 model, was registered to “George’s Reconditioning.”

The first accident was a fender bender, Volkmann said. Graham’s tow truck was in the process of removing the car when the truck was hit.

Speed, drugs and alcohol were not involved, Volkmann said. The first crash remains under investigation.

Speed, drugs and alcohol were not also not factors in the second crash that injured Graham, Lopez said.

“Trains do not go fast through Chatham as is,” Lopez said.

The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, Chatham police, CSX police and state police responded. CSX conducted a joint investigation and worked with other agencies.