Former fire chief killed in crash

GLOVERSVILLE – Former City Fire Chief Doug Edwards died Sunday after suffering serious injuries during a motorcycle accident on Spring Street on Friday, officials said.

Shortly before 1 p.m. Friday, Edwards, 52, was driving his motorcycle on North Main Street when he turned right onto Spring Street and struck a delivery truck that was dropping items off at the Eccentric Club, said police Capt. John Sira.

“The video showed he appeared to make the turn a little wide and corrected back into his lane, and shortly after turning back into his lane, he ended up driving into the back of a delivery truck,” Sira said. “It was parked on the north side of Spring Street.”

He said the investigation is ongoing, and no charges have been filed.

“We have to wait and see how the investigation plays out,” Sira said.

The scene was closed for much of the day Friday while it was being investigated with the help of the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office, officials said.

Sira said Edwards suffered head and neck injuries and was airlifted to Albany Medical Center Hospital.

He said the driver of the delivery truck was unloading items when he heard something hit the vehicle.

“The loss is difficult for me and my department. He is our family,” Fire Chief Beth Whitman-Putnam said this morning. “He was a cherished leader and member of this department. He always had confidence in me throughout my career and in my role as chief. He was extremely caring and a superb leader. The fire service and this department was his life, and even though he had to retire because of his illness, he still visited and played a vital role for everyone here.”

In honor of the former chief, Whitman-Putnam said, the department is wearing black bands over their badges and have draped a black shroud over the firehouse doors.

Edwards was diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer in March 2010.

Speaking about his illness last year, he said, “I have no choice with this thing, so I look at every day as a great day. Some days are hard, but I still think every day is great. When my doctors said I have a one in a thousand chance to make it past five years, I took that as I still have a chance because I don’t have any other option.”

“His passing goes far beyond the Fire Department,” Mayor Dayton King said. “Doug was a great man and a great family guy that made friends wherever he went. He is going to be greatly missed.”

A funeral service is scheduled for 10 a.m. Friday at Foothills United Methodist Church. Calling hours will take place from 3 to 7 p.m. Thursday at the Walrath & Stewart Funeral Home in Gloversville.