A head-on collision closed County Road 39 in Southampton and sent a man to the hospital with serious injuries on Friday afternoon.
The crash took place shortly before 4 p.m. after a Lincoln driven by Ronald Hildreth, 81, of Garden City crossed the double-yellow line from the eastbound lane into the westbound lane, then collided head-on with a pickup truck driven by 40-year-old Rafael Quiroga of Patchogue.
Mr. Hildreth suffered “multiple traumas,” according to an email from Southampton Town Police Detective Sergeant Lisa Costa, and had to be taken by Suffolk County Police helicopter to Stony Brook University Hospital. Mr. Quiroga suffered no injuries.
Police did not disclose the exact nature of Mr. Hildreth’s injuries but noted that he remained in the hospital’s intensive care unit as of Tuesday afternoon. It is unclear what caused him to drive into the wrong lane, according to police.
A heavy rescue effort was orchestrated by Southampton Village Fire Chief Dennis Roy to remove the roof of Mr. Hildreth’s vehicle, so he could be extricated and transported by Southampton Village Ambulance to the Stony Brook Southampton campus to be picked up by the helicopter.
Mr. Quiroga was charged with aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, a misdemeanor, and unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, a violation. No other charges were filed against either driver.
The Southampton Village Fire Department was called to the scene on County Road 39, near the Yesterday’s Treasures antiques shop, at 3:56 p.m. The road was partially closed for approximately an hour, Southampton Village Assistant Fire Chief Chris Brenner said, adding that the Southampton Village Fire Police kept one eastbound and one westbound lane open throughout most of the afternoon, with a brief full closure to allow emergency personnel to access the scene.
The accident scene was cleared as of 5:15 p.m., according to authorities, and all lanes of County Road 39 were reopened. However, traffic continued to be an issue for those heading in both directions.