GREENPORT — Four people were injured in two separate accidents on the Rip Van Winkle Bridge on Tuesday morning.
The first accident happened at about 6:51 a.m., when two cars collided under the steel structure on the Columbia County side of the bridge.
A car driven west on the bridge by Lucas J. Konsul, 17, of Athens, crossed over the center line, striking head-on a car driven east by Joseph Komaromi, 40, of Catskill, Lt. John Rivero of the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office said.
Komaromi was airlifted to Albany Medical Center with severe leg injuries, said Greenport Fire Chief John Onufrychuk Jr.
The landing zone for the Life Net helicopter was set up at Columbia-Greene Community College.
Konsul and a passenger in the Komaromi vehicle, Elliott Winn, were taken to Columbia Memorial Health by Greenport Rescue Squad with non life-threatening injuries, Onufrychuk said. Winn’s age and place of residence were not immediately available.
Firefighters used the Jaws of Life to extricate the occupants from the Komaromi vehicle.
Konsul was ticketed by police for driver inattention and failure to keep right, Rivero said.
The bridge was closed in both directions for about 90 minutes until the crash was cleared.
Columbia County 911 sent Greenport Fire Department and Rescue Squad to the scene. Catskill Fire Company was requested under mutual aid.
Traffic was backed up for miles in both directions.
Both cars were towed from the scene.
The bridge was reopened to traffic at 8:24 a.m.
The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office investigated. They were assisted by state police. Catskill police assisted on the Greene County side of the bridge.
The second accident occurred about an hour later at about 9:22 a.m., when a car rear-ended a dump truck.
A 2011 Toyota Corolla driven east on the bridge by George Whitaker, 23, of New Windsor, rear-ended a 2016 Dodge Ram, also driven east by Anthony Martino, 21, of Rhinebeck, said Aaron Hicks, public information officer for state police Troop K.
The crash occurred was just east of the steel structure about in the middle of the bridge.
Columbia County 911 sent Greenport Fire and Rescue back to the bridge.
Whitaker was taken to Columbia Memorial Health by Greenport Rescue with chest pains, Onufrychuk said. He was also ticketed by state police for following too closely, Hicks said.
Traffic through the accident scene was restricted to one lane. Backups on both sides of the bridge grew to over a mile long once again.
The car was towed from the scene.
The bridge was reopened at 10:06 a.m.
State Police investigated the second accident.
Investigating at the first accident were Columbia County Sheriff’s Deputies Andrew Hurst, Zachary Torcia, Joshua Torcia, Sgt. Peter Greskow and Rivero.