Officials report 'miracle' in NY crash originally reported as fatal

Police said a Hatzolah Ambulance EMS provider who saw the crash in their rearview mirror managed to revive a driver police thought had died


Rachel Ettlinger
The Times Herald-Record, Middletown, N.Y.

TOWN OF THOMPSON, N.Y. — What was reported as a fatal crash on Route 17 on Tuesday turned out to be what state police are now calling a miracle. 

A 61-year-old man driving a 1998 Lexus SC-400 stopped for unknown reasons in the left lane, eastbound, west of exit 107 on Route 17 at around 2:15 p.m., said Trooper Steven Nevel, public information officer for State Police Troop F. The driver of a 2019 Honda Civic saw the vehicle was not moving, but was unable to change lanes quickly enough due to traffic. Although the driver punched the brakes, the car still struck the back of the vehicle, police say.

New York State Police say a driver originally reported to be deceased was revived by a Hatzolah Ambulance EMS provider in what officials called a
New York State Police say a driver originally reported to be deceased was revived by a Hatzolah Ambulance EMS provider in what officials called a "miracle." (Photo/New York State Police)

When first responders arrived at the scene, including a Hatzolah Ambulance member who saw the accident in their rearview mirror, the driver of the Lexus, Lee Cone Jr., of Ellenville, had no pulse, Nevel said. 

"Whether you call it a miracle or great medical people, they brought him back. ... Initially it was thought to be a fatal, but through the grace of God and a Hatzolah medical person, we were able to get a pulse back," Nevel said.

Cone was revived at the scene and brought to Garnet Medical Center in the Town of Wallkill, where he is listed in critical condition, according to Nevel. 

Another passenger in the Lexus was airlifted to Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla and is in critical condition, Nevel said. State police have not yet been able to identify the name or age of the passenger. 

The 23-year-old driver of the Honda was taken to Garnet Medical Center, formerly Orange Regional Medical Center, with non-life-threatening injuries, Nevel said. State police are not releasing the name of the driver at this time, Nevel said, adding, "She didn't cause the accident."

The two-car crash shut down Route 17 eastbound between exits 106 and 108 near Monticello in Sullivan County for about 2 hours, Nevel said. 

The investigation is ongoing, state police said. 

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©2020 The Times Herald-Record, Middletown, N.Y.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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