Man dies in rollover accident when driver tries to avoid hay bale

Seatbelts save lives in many types of crashes. However, some types of car accidents are so severe and so dangerous that even people wearing a seatbelt can be thrown from a car and suffer serious injuries. In November, we wrote about the tragic death of Brian Cole, a prospect with the New York Mets. Mr. Cole was ejected from his vehicle during a rollover accident and was killed despite the fact that he was wearing a seatbelt.

This week, a similar rollover accident claimed the life of a 24-year-old man from Ballston Spa, which is about 30 miles north of Albany. According to New York State Police investigators, the 24-year-old man was a passenger in a vehicle being driven by a 22-year-old woman. Their vehicle was following a vehicle carrying a load of hay bales at about 4:42 on Tuesday afternoon when one of the bales fell from the truck and into the lane.

According to investigators, the 22-year-old woman swerved to avoid the hay bale, but lost control of her vehicle. The vehicle overturned several times before coming to rest on a guardrail. Even though he was wearing his seatbelt, the 24-year-old man was partially ejected from the vehicle and suffered severe head injuries. He was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident.

The driver, who was also wearing her seatbelt, needed to be extracted from the wreckage. She was flown to Bassett Hospital with injuries to her neck and back. An investigation is ongoing and State Police are not saying if they know who was driving the vehicle that dropped the bale of hay onto the road or if that driver will face any criminal charges.

Irrespective of whether the driver who lost the hay bale will face criminal charges, he or she will likely face a civil wrongful death and personal injury lawsuit for the fatal accident if an investigation shows that he or she negligently caused the accident.

Source: Albany Times Union, "Man dies when car swerves to avoid hay bale," 6/22/2011


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