REDWOOD A spectacular, fiery two-vehicle crash about 6:39 p.m. Friday on Route 37 in the town of Redwood sent both drivers to hospitals.
A pickup truck involved in the accident was split in half and caught fire, leaving its driver to be extracted from the cab, which landed several feet away, said Redwood First Assistant Fire Chief Zachary A. Cullen.
A 30-foot-tall evergreen near the road also caught fire in Richard J. Schwandners yard at 45513 Route 37. It took firefighters just a few moments to extinguish the blaze, Mr. Cullen said.
It was incredible, Mr. Schwandner said, pointing out the tree, which was left charred about two-thirds of the way up from the ground.
On Friday night, state police were not identifying the driver of the pickup truck nor the operator of a blue SUV who also was injured in the accident, which occurred near Number 6 Road. The two drivers were the only occupants of the vehicles.
The pickups driver was taken by an Onondaga County sheriffs helicopter to a Syracuse hospital, while the SUVs operator was taken by ambulance to Samaritan Medical Center, Watertown. Their conditions were not known Friday night.
It appeared the two vehicles hit head on, Mr. Cullen said. Troopers still were piecing together what caused the accident Friday night.
Witnesses said the pickup was headed north, with a friend of the driver following in a gray sedan, when the pickup veered into the opposite lane and struck the southbound SUV.
It was a pretty bad impact, Mr. Cullen said.
A section of Route 37 was closed for about 2½ hours while firefighters cleaned up the mess.
A Redwood firefighter who lives just down the road was at the scene within a few minutes to help the two injured men, Mr. Schwandner said.
A state trooper confirmed that unidentified driver of the sedan was charged at the scene with driving while intoxicated and taken to the Alexandria Bay state police station.
The trooper also said he was investigating whether the drivers of the pickup and sedan had just left a tavern about a mile away from the accident scene.
Mr. Schwandner said his girlfriend heard a small bang and thought a bird hit the window. She looked outside and saw the tree on fire and people standing in their driveway, he said.
I planted that tree when I was in grade school, the 31-year-old Mr. Schwandner said. It was a sapling. I brought it home in wet paper toweling.