Six people are dead following a fiery multi-vehicle accident that closed a section of Route 11 near Antwerp for most of the day Thursday.
Another person was critically injured and was in a Syracuse hospital Thursday night.
Five people were killed instantly. The sixth died at E.J. Noble Hospital in Gouverneur.
The five people killed at the scene were all in one vehicle.
They were Laurie Dana, 42, the driver of the vehicle, and her two daughters, Caitlyn, 14, and Lauryn, 11. Also killed was Caitlyn's friend, Shannon Planty, 14. All were from North Lawrence.
Laurie Dana was a special education teacher at St. Lawrence Central school. District officials said guidance counselors will be on hand at summer school Friday to help students.
The other person killed in the vehicle was Laurie Dana's mother-in-law, Janet Dana, 69, of Moira.
The sixth person to die was alone in her car. State police identified her as Maryann Gregory, 59, of Dickinson Center.
A state Department of Transportation employee who was critically injured was identified as Lewis Lottie, 44, of Nicholville. He was in critical condition at a Syracuse hospital, police said.
The accident happened around 9 a.m. Thursday on Route 11 north of Antwerp, not far from the intersection with the Fox Ranch Road.
Officials say several vehicles were stopped because of paving work in the area when a southbound tractor-trailer driven by James Mills, 45, from Myerstown, Pennsylvania slammed into a line of cars.
The rig first struck a Subaru Forester (the vehicle with Gregory driving) and forced it off the road, then continued, striking a state Department of Transportation pickup truck (Lottie's vehicle) and a Toyota RAV4 (the vehicle with the five people killed).
The RAV4 burst instantly into flames.
While the accident reconstruction work is incomplete, police estimate the tractor-trailer was traveling at 55 miles per hour when it struck the other vehicles.
Witnesses say Lottie, the driver of the DOT truck, was removed from his vehicle just before it caught fire.
A fourth vehicle, a water delivery truck, was also struck. Its driver was taken to Samaritan Medical Center for observation.
The tractor-trailer driver was hospitalized for 'observation' and to be tested for alcohol and drugs - that's standard procedure in these cases. Police say Mills was hauling a load of yogurt from North Country Dairy in North Lawrence.
Police say Lottie, the DOT employee, was on his way to a meeting in Watertown and was not involved in the paving work near the accident scene.
DOT spokesman Mike Flick says the vehicles were stopped by a flag person and were waiting for a pilot vehicle to take them through the construction zone.
Flick added that the National Traffic Safety Board has been notified and, because it was at a DOT road construction site, his agency will conduct a full investigation.
Saturday, July 4, 2015, Watertown, NY
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