NEW BALTIMORE, N.Y. – State Police responded to a fatal car crash early Friday morning on the Thruway near exit 21B.
According to officials, a call came in shortly after midnight that a car, driven by 43-year-old Julian With of Coxsackie, was driving in the wrong direction in the southbound lane. With's vehicle, a Ford sedan, subsequently collided head-on with a Ford minivan operated by 39-year-old Karen Weller of Onatrio, Canada.
With was killed as a result of the accident.
The front seat passenger of the minivan, 50-year-old Carol Dion of Ontario, was also pronounced dead at the scene.
Weller and her four-month-old infant Tajaye, were both transported from the scene to Albany Medical Center Hospital by Coxsackie Rescue and are being treated for injuries sustained in the collision. Tajaye is listed in serious condition.
Officials say the woman killed was somehow related to the two survivors.
The reason why With was traveling in the wrong direction on the Thruway is under investigation.
On Friday, NEWS10 spoke with Bob Baker, a man from the Catskill area who says he was one of the first witnesses on scene as he drove home from work. He and a few other cars approached the crash.
Bob says he got out of his car and went to the other people on scene, “I asked 'is there anybody in that car?' There were flames all over the car, and the guy said 'yeah there is somebody in there.' So I went over and was looking at the situation and pulling on the door, and the door handle broke off in my hand.”
He says this is when he and two others tried to break out windows to rescue the man, but the flames took over the car too quickly. Later, officials declared the driver, Julian With, dead at the scene.
Bob said after realizing the man wouldn't survive he heard something across the road, “It was then that I noticed there was probably another car involved in this accident, and I heard the horn beeping and somebody screaming.”
Bob ran over to a minivan, saying it leaned sideways against the guardrail. As he approached, Bob said he saw a woman in the driver's seat, pointing to a baby lying among the debris.
Bob says, “I picked up the baby, I thought for sure it was dead. It was totally limp.”
He said once the driver saw the baby was in his arms, the woman yelled that there was another woman in her car. That's when Bob says he handed the baby off to one of the people on the scene then attempted to get the other woman out of the car.
Bob said police took over the scene shortly after and declared the woman – the passenger of the van, Carol Dion – deceased.
Both southbound lanes, and the left northbound lane were closed until approximately 5:30 a.m. Friday morning. Traffic has now been reopened and is flowing freely.
NEWS10 will provide updates as they become available.