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Two seriously hurt in Clarkson collision

Updated: Thursday, October 10 2013, 08:24 PM EDT

Updated: Friday, August 16 2013, 7:00 PM EDT

Clarkson, N.Y. – A teen driver traveling west on Route 104 tried to pass a box truck when she struck a dump truck head-on in the opposite lane, according to Monroe County Sheriff’s Department.

The driver of the dump truck was ejected from the vehicle. He is identified as being Wayne Howard, 76, of Kendall, N.Y. Howard was taken to Strong Memorial Hospital and has been discharged.

The driver of the sedan that struck Howard was Sierra Mendes, 19, of Holley, N.Y. She was trapped in her vehicle for about an hour before rescue crews could free her. Mendes was flown to Strong Memorial Hospital where she was listed as being in satisfactory condition at last check.

Sheriff’s deputies tell 13WHAM News that Mendes was ticketed for unsafe passing.

The crash occurred around 7:45 a.m. on a slight curve in West Ridge Road just past Kirby’s Farm Market in Clarkson. Mendes was driving westbound and the dump truck was headed eastbound when the collision happened.

"I looked out the window and I literally saw the whole thing,” said Rob Pazyck. “The two cars hitting each other and the dump truck going up in the air and then the neighbors coming out; we have two firefighters as neighbors and one went to each car. The truck driver was buried under sod so the one firefighter was unburying him from the sod they had to first find him, they didn't even know where he was they couldn't find him in the cab.”

"Give these firefighters kudos for doing their job,” Pazyck continued. “They jumped into action. I mean I couldn't do what they do.”

3 Firefighters Live Near Crash & Helped

The dump truck landed on the front lawn of an off-duty Rochester City Firefighter. Neighbors identified him as Scott George and he humbly declined to comment to 13WHAM News. He is credited with rushing out his door and helping to locate and stabilize the driver of the dump truck.

On the other side of the street Gordon Bemis heard the crash just as he was sitting down to breakfast. Bemis is a 47-year veteran of the Brockport Volunteer Fire Department. He ran outside and, seeing his neighbor already helping the dump truck driver, Bemis immediately went to be with the woman trapped inside her car.

"He (George) was right there and he went with the guy with the truck and I went with the car, that's the way we split it up,” Bemis explained while simultaneously deflecting any credit for his heroic efforts. “You know it's the firefighters that get here with the tools and so forth that are the real heroes on this, I did nothing but try to keep her calm it's about all you can do at that point.”

Bemis stayed by Mendes’ side until she was cut free of her vehicle. He said she remained conscious and he kept her talking throughout the ordeal. Hours later she was still on his mind.

"I certainly hope to go see her and just, (I would) like make sure she's alright and I think she will be,” said Bemis.

Rob Pazyck admits he could not do what his two neighbors did at the scene. But he also stood in awe of his own son, Jose Medina, who ran to the scene from his job at Kirby’s Farm Market a few hundred feet away. Medina, 18, is one of the newest volunteers with the Brockport Volunteer Fire Department and was also on scene to help in any way he could.

“He heard the accident and he came over so they got him suited up, I gave him some safety glasses and he jumped in and helped and I was watching him,” said a proud Pazyck. “I was watching him and I'm like, wow that's my kid. Way to go."

Sean Carroll, 13WHAM-TV
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Two seriously hurt in Clarkson collision

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