Highway worker dies in accident

EDINBURG – A town Highway Department worker was killed Tuesday when he was run over by a vehicle operated by his boss while both were doing shoulder work on King Road.

Town highway employee Richard Laport, 69, of Edinburg was killed in the 11:04 a.m. accident, a state police news release said.

“It’s an awful tragedy,” Edinburg Supervisor Jean Raymond said today of Laport’s death. “It’s really sad all the way around.”

Raymond said Laport was married with children.

The news release said the Highway Department recently paved King Road and on Tuesday was working on improving the shoulders.

Troopers said Edinburg Highway Superintendent Wayne Seelow, 52, was backing a 2011 Ford F-350 pickup truck registered to the town. The news release said Seelow backed the truck along the shoulder of the road to use the vehicle’s weight to pack down the pavement.

Troopers said Seelow felt the vehicle “go over a bump” as he backed up, and he got out of the truck to investigate. He found Laport underneath the truck, the news release said.

Saratoga County Coroner Thomas Salvadore pronounced Laport dead at the scene.

The news release said Seelow told troopers he never saw Laport behind him and thought Laport was on the other side of the road. The news release said the state police Troop G Accident Reconstruction Unit responded.

“They did an extraordinarily thorough job with their unit,” said Raymond, who was at the scene.

There were no indications of alcohol or drug involvement in the incident, the news release said. The circumstances that led to Laport being behind the vehicle as it was backing up are still under investigation, the release said.

Raymond said the accident has shaken her small town. Many of the town employees all know each other “like a family,” she said.

“They were best friends,” the supervisor said of Seelow and Laport.

Raymond said Seelow heads a small five-person highway department. She said the tragedy also affects the Edinburg Volunteer Fire Department, for which Seelow serves as chief.

She said a stress management team will be brought to Edinburg the next few days for town staff and fire department members who might seek counseling related to the accident.

The death was the second tragedy in 10 days in the town. The first was a Sept. 29 plane crash that claimed the life of state police investigator Timothy J. Cowper on Tange Road.

Cowper, 55, of Middle Grove, a senior investigator who worked for state police for 30 years, was piloting a plane that crashed in a wooded area adjacent to Tange Road near the Plateau Sky Ranch Airport, authorities said. That crash is still under investigation.

Michael Anich can be reached at manich@leaderherald.com.