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Guardrail Saved Lives, State Police Say

John Sullivan – Times Herald-Record
Highway Guardrail. Illustration Photo.

Just two weeks after its installation, a median guardrail on Route 17 stopped a car from crossing over into oncoming traffic.

“You can say it works, and that it saved a life today,” said state Trooper Jason Grabowski of the new guardrail installed near Exit 130.

According to state police, the driver of a westbound white 2003 Chevrolet Cavalier bounced off the newly installed rail after the driver lost control trying to pass another car on its left. The car then came back onto the highway, flipped and came to rest upside down on the right shoulder of the road, police said.

One of three passengers in the car suffered an injury to his arm when glass from a side window shattered, Grabowski said. He was taken by ambulance to the Arden Hill Campus of Orange Regional Medical Center for treatment of minor cuts.

Since 1994, crossover head-on collisions on Route 17 in Orange and Sullivan counties have killed 12 people. In October 2006, a three-vehicle crash in Chester killed a young New York City couple and left their 10-month-old daughter in critical condition. Public outcry following that crash prompted to state Department of Transportation to move up its plans to install the median barriers.

The driver in today’s crash and the other two passengers, whose identities were not immediately available, weren’t injured. No other cars were involved in the crash. The driver of the Cavalier was ticketed for an unsafe lane change.

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