(UPDATED story posted 2:30 pm)
A crash this morning in a busy part of Homer resulted in two people being sent to the hospital.
“If this had been shortly after 8 am on an average Wednesday morning we would have had a very different result,” said Cortland City Police Investigator Lt. Michael Strangeway.
Fortunately, it was not.
Strangeway’s silver lining comes hours after 33-year-old Matthew Clemens, of Route 80 in Fabius, stole a pickup truck from Tallmadge Tire in Cortland and wrecked it moments later at the intersection of State Routes 90 and 281.
On a ‘normal’ day, Strangeway pointed out, this area is packed with all kinds of vehicular and foot traffic made up of commuters, school buses, students and pedestrians.
“The fact that businesses and schools are currently closed, in all likelihood, prevented this incident from becoming a true catastrophe,” Strangeway said.
Investigators say Clemens stole a white 2013 Chevrolet Silverado 3500 from the parking lot of the Tallmadge Tire in Cortland, fleeing westward on Groton Avenue towards Route 281.
Area police were notified and soon got a complaint of a reckless driver in a vehicle matching the description moving at high speeds on Kinney Gulf Road, continuing along Route 90 and over the hill into the village of Homer at more than 50 mph.
Clemens then ran a red light and struck another pickup truck as it passed through the intersection, sending that driver to Guthrie Cortland Medical Center for medical evaluation.
The stolen truck continued on, snapping off a metal power pole and street signs before finally overturning and coming to rest against a tree in a nearby front lawn, just feet from the residence.
Police say Clemens was ejected in the crash and found conscious lying next to a tree in a neighbor’s yard, some 60 feet from his overturned truck.
He was then transported to Upstate University Hospital for medical treatment and faces a list of charges upon his release.
Cortland City Police are charging Clemens with:
- Burglary in the 3rd Degree (F)
- Grand Larceny in the 3rd Degree (F)
Homer Police are also investigating the accident and will be filing charges in the village at a later time.
Participating in the joint investigation were members of Cortland City Police, Homer Village Police, New York State Police, Cortland County Sheriffs, Homer Fire Department and TLC ambulance.
(ORIGINAL story posted 12:30 pm)
A busy traffic light is down at the corner of State Routes 90 and 281 in Homer, after a collision this morning which reportedly involved a stolen pickup truck and ended just feet from a home.
Officials with NYSDOT are now directing traffic at the intersection by way of temporarily installed stop signs.
WXHC is still working to get more details from local police, but they have confirmed the incident happened just after 8:00 and also that drugs may have been involved.
Witnesses reported seeing a white pickup truck being chased by authorities on Route 90 and running a red light at the intersection from the eastward direction, colliding with a vehicle coming across in the proper lane of travel and sending the stolen truck airborne into a light pole.
The truck then continued rolling along the ground and stopped only when it slammed into a tree just feet from the exterior of a home.
Homer and Cortland Police Departments are now running a joint investigation into the incident and more information is expected in the coming hours.
Stay tuned with WXHC News for updates to this story.
(Photos below sent in by Katie Catlin)