Interstate 89 reopens following deadly crash - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Interstate 89 reopens following deadly crash

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Interstate 89 has reopened following an accident during the Monday morning commute that killed three people.

Mangled metal and debris is all that's left from a crash along I-89 South that turned deadly.

"It was a head-on crash -- both vehicles ended up in the southbound lane of travel," said Vermont State Police Sgt. Mark Magnant.

"I feel bad for the families and everybody involved. I mean, obviously there are some fatalities, so my heart goes out to everybody," said Steve Harrington, who works near the crash scene.

The driver, 29 year-old Jason Potvin of Williamstown lost control of his 1997 Subaru Legacy.  The northbound car managed to cross the median and collided with a Chevy Silverado truck traveling southbound.

Potvin and his two passengers, 29-year-old April Otis and 8 month-old Hunter Potvin, all died at the scene. The driver of the truck, 46-year-old John Hill of Concord, New Hampshire was hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries.

The stretch of Interstate from Richmond to Waterbury near mile marker 70 was shut down for five hours as rescue crews and state police responded to the scene.  

"We're always looking at speed -- anyway vehicles traveling at the least speed -- at this speed limit is 65 miles an hour and impact at 65 miles an hour is substantial, particularly when you have one or more vehicles involved," Sgt. Magnant said.

The already intense accident scene took a second tragic turn shortly after 10 a.m. -- this time in the northbound lane. That's when the driver of another car, suspected of having his eyes on the crash site across the median instead of the road, slammed into the back of the station wagon in front of him. Both people survived.

"When you have an operator that is paying attention to the accident scene and not the road in front of them, these types of things are going to happen and unfortunately it jeopardizes not only their safety but it jeopardizes the safety of everyone on scene," Sgt. Magnant said.

Witnesses who saw what came of both crashes are sharing their condolences and reminding fellow drivers that safety comes first.

"It just goes to show you that anything can happen at any day, at any time," Steve Harrington said.

Monday's crash brought the total number of traffic fatalities in Vermont to 27 so far this year up from 20 at the same point in 2011.

Police say neither Jason Potvin nor his front seat passenger, April Otis, were wearing seat belts. They say it also appears the child restraint seat in the car was not properly installed.

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