Thruway crash hurts state trooper

AMSTERDAM – A state trooper was in critical condition this morning after his patrol vehicle was hit on Monday night by a tractor-trailer on the Thruway near Amsterdam, state police said.

Both eastbound lanes of the Thruway were closed between Exits 27 and 28 until one lane reopened around 6 a.m. today, nearly 10 hours after the accident.

Police said the trooper was inside his cruiser while it was parked behind a car pulled off the highway’s right shoulder at Exit 27 around 8:25 p.m. Monday.

Troopers say a tractor-trailer traveling in the right lane left the highway and hit both vehicles, pinning the other motorist’s vehicle under the truck.

Authorities said the driver of the tractor-trailer, Gary Blakley, 65, of Ridgeway, Ontario, was traveling east on the Thruway at the time of the accident but was not injured.

The third vehicle, police said, operated by Eric Heller, 57, of Stoney Creek, was also involved. He was transported to Albany Medical Center for his injuries. His condition was unavailable this morning.

“A trooper was on a vehicle-and- traffic stop with another vehicle and, for an unknown reason, at the moment, the tractor-trailer itself struck the two vehicles that were pulled over on the side of the road,” state police spokesman Mark Cepiel said this morning.

State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Collision Reconstruction Unit and Emergency Medical Services responded to the scene.

The trooper’s name wasn’t released this morning.

A representative of the New York State Thruway Media Relations and Communications Department declined to comment on whether the right lane was closed due to physical damage or cleaning debris.

Vehicles could still be seen at the crash scene at 9:30 a.m. State police said the cause of the accident is under investigation.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.