Man burned by hot asphalt dies Investigation reveals dump truck’s brakes failed entering busy intersection NORTH GREENBUSH, N.Y. – Thomas Butch, the 46-year-old East Greenbush man whose car was struck and filled with hot asphalt by a runaway dump truck last Friday, died of his injuries at Westchester Medical Center’s burn unit Thursday, police said.An autopsy will be conducted at the downstate hospital’s morgue at 11 a.m. today, and North Greenbush Police officers will be present, Chief Rocco Fragomeni said Thursday.Patricia Madia, the 45-year-old passenger in Butch’s 2002 Mazda at the time of the accident, suffered burns to her left arm and was treated at Albany Medical Center Hospital. Fragomeni said she was out of the hospital’s care by the next day.Jamie Bobet, the 39-year-old Albany man who drove the 1974 Mack dump truck owned by GHW Construction of East Berne, was released from Albany Med Sunday after injuries to his back and leg were treated, the chief said.The driver of a third vehicle involved in the wreck was treated at the scene for slight injuries.The police investigation is focused on interviewing witnesses who may drift away or forget details and examining documents, such as billing records that will help determine the truck’s payload, Fragomeni said Thursday.At this point, police offer the following as a tentative scenario, based on interviews of Bobet and other witnesses:After filling the truck’s bed with asphalt at the Bonded Concrete plant off Route 43 about five miles from the scene in West Sand Lake, Bobet, who was recently hired by GHW and may never have driven the route before, drove the vehicle toward Route 43’s intersection with Route 4.After attempting to apply his brakes at the top of the hill, near Best Road and about one tenth of a mile from the intersection, Bobet noticed he had pressure in the system but the brakes did not work. It is not yet known why he did not drive the truck off the side of the road to avoid striking the Butch vehicle, which was attempting a turn across the Mack’s path onto northbound lanes of Route 4.It is also not clear what caused the truck to tip and if Butch vehicle’s windows were intact and closed after the collision but before the asphalt spilled. It is similarly unclear whether the Mack truck struck the Mazda or drove over it. The red, four-door car was heavily damaged on the driver’s side, and the truck came to rest on its driver’s side.Bobet’s account of the brake failure was confirmed by a state Department of Transportation inspector’s verbal report that the brakes were not operational though there was no dramatic failure, such as a broken fluid line, the chief said, adding that until a written DOT report is complete, no further details will be available.Because GHW is an “independent hauler,” or one not directly operated by Bonded Concrete, Bonded had less control over the payload’s weight than if it had been one of the company’s own trucks, Fragomeni added.Investigators were in the process of determining the Mack’s curb weight and hauling capacity as the chief spoke Thursday. Police have been told by other haulers a normal load for that type of truck is 15 tons.Authorities are in the process of obtaining billing information from Bonded, which will determine the load’s weight, and, coupled with markings left on the road, may help to determine the vehicle’s speed. The speed limit around the intersection is 40 miles per hour.Other aspects of the case are also receiving attention.”Some time next week, we’ll be able to say this was done wrong and that wasn’t done wrong and present it to the DA’s office, which will be able to say if there are any crimes or misdemeanors that Mr. Bobet will be charged with,” Fragomeni said.No charges will be filed until the final report is complete. By Shawn Charniga , The Record
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