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 male driver 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.

A male driver and a male passenger from the second car were taken to Columbia Memorial Health by Greenport Rescue Squad with non life-threatening injuries, Onufrychuk said.

Firefighters used the Jaws of Life to extricate them from their car.

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 at about 9:22 a.m., when a car rear ended a dump truck.

Columbia County 911 sent Greenport Fire and Rescue back to the bridge.

The crash was just east of the steel structure.

The male driver of the car was taken to Columbia Memorial by Greenport Rescue with chest pains, Onufrychuk said.

Traffic through the accident scene was limited 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.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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