Fatal Thruway accident investigation ongoing

CANAJOHARIE – An investigation is continuing into a fatal accident on the Thruway Monday morning, state police said.

Troopers said that around 5:50 a.m., tow truck driver James Homkey, 51, of Canajoharie was called out to the Thruway at mile post 193 between exits 29 and 29A on the westbound portion of Interstate 90 for a disabled vehicle.

Homkey worked part-time for Roosevelt and Sons Towing in the town of Canajoharie.

Troopers said Homkey was loading an uninvolved disabled vehicle, and was standing alongside his tow truck when he was struck by a passing tractor-trailer while standing near the fog line.

The tractor-trailer, a 2015 Freightliner, is owned by Performance Food Group of Virginia and was operated by Alexandro Perez, 41, of Springfield, Mass.

Homkey was pronounced dead at the scene. Perez was not injured in the crash.

Since the investigation is ongoing, there is no word yet on any tickets or charges.

The state’s move-over law changed in 2012 to include tow trucks and other vehicles responding to roadside emergencies. According to state police, drivers on parkways and other controlled access highways with multiple lanes, such as the Thruway, must move from the lane immediately adjacent any emergency or hazard vehicle, unless traffic or other hazards exist to prevent doing so safely.

This is the third fatal accident along the Montgomery County stretch of Thruway in just under three years.

On May 13, Nelson Jiminez of the Bronx was killed near the Canajoharie interchange about two miles away from the sight of Monday’s fatal crash.

Jiminez was stopped in a westbound lane when he was struck by a tractor-trailer.

On Dec. 16, 2013, Trooper David Cunniff was killed when his patrol vehicle was struck by a tractor-trailer during a traffic stop near Exit 27 in the town of Amsterdam.

The trooper had pulled a vehicle over for speeding around 8:20 p.m. when a tractor-trailer driven by Gary Blakley, 66, struck the police cruiser near Exit 27 in the town of Amsterdam. The accident caused the police car to be pushed 50 yards and into an embankment. Cunniff, 35, succumbed to his injuries the next day at Albany Medical Center Hospital.

Blakley was sentenced to 3 1/2 years in state prison and 2 1/2 years of post-release supervision in Sept. 2015. Blakley plead guilty to criminally negligent homicide in April 2015.

Blakley filed a notice of appeal of his sentence in 2015.

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