Garbage truck driver suffers broken collarbone, broken ribs in rollover crash

BLOOMINGDALE – The driver of a Casella Waste Systems garbage truck was injured Monday morning after his truck crashed off River Road and overturned, pinning him inside the vehicle’s cab.

The crash happened around 9:30 a.m. near the entrance to the town of St. Armand transfer station. Leonard J. Snyder, 29, of Keeseville, was traveling west when his garbage truck rounded a curve, veered off the right side of the road, went off the north shoulder, slid down an embankment and rolled over, coming to rest upside down against a row of trees.

Bloomingdale Fire Chief Tim Woodruff, who lives down the street and was one of the first people on the scene, said he heard it happen.

“I was at my house; I heard a big boom and the sound of a horn stuck,” said Woodruff, who works as a state police investigator. “I came down and Rob Yando, a neighbor, said (the driver is) trapped. I went up and he was pinned in there.”

Woodruff said Dr. William Viscardo, who lives next to where the crash took place, was there before he showed up. Viscardo said he helped provide medical care to the driver until ambulance personnel arrived.

“We heard a crash, a thump and then a horn, and I immediately said, ‘I know that’s bad. Somebody is slumped over their steering wheel,'” Viscardo said. “I had no idea it was going to be an entire garbage truck with a guy trapped in there upside down, pinned in by the steering wheel.”

Ray Brook-based state police, firefighters from the Bloomingdale and Saranac Lake volunteer fire departments and the Saranac Lake Volunteer Rescue Squad responded to the scene.

Firefighters used the Jaws of Life, a hydraulic rescue tool, to get Snyder out of the car, Woodruff said.

“The driver was in there for about 30 minutes,” Woodruff said. “While we were trying to extricate him, the paramedics were working on him. He was talking to us and everything. (His injuries) didn’t seem to be serious, but we put (North Country) Life Flight on standby in Bloomingdale just in case.”

Snyder suffered a broken collarbone and two broken ribs. He was taken by ambulance to Adirondack Medical Center in Saranac Lake. He was later released from the hospital and visited the crash site with his supervisor, according to Todd Claremont, the state trooper who investigated the crash.

The crash occurred along a straightaway that followed a curve in the road. A long set of skid marks could be seen on the south side of the pavement, leading off the shoulder where the truck’s tires left a deep gouge in the dirt.

When the Enterprise was on scene around 10:30 a.m., the garbage truck was sitting parallel to the road and upside down at the edge of the woods. The top of its cab was smashed in, its front windshield was lying in pieces on the ground and the driver’s side door had been cut off. Police said the truck was equipped to be driven from either the right or left side; Snyder was sitting in the right side of the cab at the time of the crash.

Claremont said Snyder was ticketed for failure to keep right and speed not reasonable. Even though the speed limit is 45 mph, Claremont said police determined Snyder was going too fast for that curvy section of the road.

The road was closed to traffic for most of the day as crews worked to remove the garbage truck, no small task given its weight. Madden’s Towing and Recovery from Saranac Lake and Integrity Towing of Plattsburgh worked in tandem to get the truck upright and back on the road. It was ultimately towed to Plattsburgh. The scene was finally cleared at 4:45 p.m., Claremont said.

The crash took out at least one large tree, which fell partially into the road before it was removed, and some utility lines, causing a power outage for some residents on River Road. A crew from National Grid responded to the scene and had to wait until the truck was removed to restore power. The town of St. Armand Highway Department also provided assistance at the scene.

Contact Chris Knight at 891-2600 ext. 24 or