The State Police continue to investigate a fatal collision that has now claimed the life of one other person. A 2011 Ford F-150 pick-up truck collided with a 2009 Honda Fit on State Route 86 in Ray Brook shortly before 2 p.m. following a brief pursuit by State Police.
The Lake Placid Police Department had contacted State Police around 1:30 p.m. to request assistance with locating the suspect vehicle that was involved in a hit-and-run collision within the village of Lake Placid.
Troopers soon located the suspect vehicle traveling west bound on State Route 86, at a high rate of speed. The troopers attempted to stop the vehicle. As the suspect vehicle approached the hamlet of Ray Brook, the vehicle entered the east bound lane of travel and collided head on with the Honda Fit that was traveling east. Both vehicles then exited the north side of the highway where they came to rest.
The suspect, the sole occupant of the Ford F-150, was immediately taken into custody at the scene by State Police. The three occupants of the Honda were trapped and had to be extricated by Lake Placid and Saranac Lake Fire and Rescue personnel. The operator of the Honda, 42-year-old James E. Barney of Potsdam, was pronounced dead at the scene by Essex County Coroner Francis Whitelaw. The front seat passenger identified as 38-year-old Kim Barney of Potsdam, was transported to Adirondack Medical Center and later air-lifted to Fletcher Allen Medical Center in Burlington Vermont, where she subsequently succumbed to her injuries.
The rear seat passenger, Emily Colby, 11-years-old of Potsdam, was air-lifted from the scene to Fletcher Allen where she is currently undergoing surgery for multiple injuries and is listed in critical condition.
State Police Aviation and Collision Reconstruction Unit (CRU) responded to the scene. The preliminary investigation indicates the operator of the Ford F-150 had been involved in other accidents prior to this collision, and had been operating in an extremely reckless manner through the village of Lake Placid and town of North Elba.
The operator remains in State Police custody at this time. Criminal charges are pending. This case remains under investigation by State Police, Lake Placid Police, and Essex County District Attorney Kristy Sprague.
Travel on State Route 86 has been opened to one lane, however, motorists should still expect delays.
More information will be released at a later time.