Northumberland, NY Auto And Pickup Crash, Aug 1991



Northumberland - A family of five was killed when a pickup truck collided nearly head-on with a compact car on Route 50 Tuesday afternoon. The driver of the pickup was charged with drunken driving, police said.
ARTHUR L. ROUSE, 31, his wife, SABRINA B. ROUSE, 27, and their three children, BRETT MITCHELL, 5, KERI ANN, 6, and BOBBI LYNN, 8, all of Brownville Road, died instantly in the accident.
Police said a one-ton Ford pickup driven by DAVID W. HINKHAUS of Car-Away Trailer Park crossed the double yellow line just south of Colebrook Road and slammed into the ROUSES' Eagle Summit just before 4 p.m.
HINKHAUS was charged with DWI, and suffered head injuries and cuts to his face. He was taken to Glens Falls Hospital where he was listed in fair condition late Tuesday.
Saratoga County Sheriff's Sgt. Edward M. Rooney said the county district attorney's office is continuing the investigation into the accident, and additional charges are possible.
The crash shut a half-mile section of Route 50 down for over four hours as emergency crews from Gansevoort, Moreau and South Glens Falls used the Jaws of Life to cut the roof from the ROUSES' car and extricate them.
The ROUSES were pronounced dead at the scene by Saratoga County Coroner Dr. Russell Peacock.
According to friends of the family, the ROUSES were on their way to the Jamesway department store at the Saratoga Mall in Wilton when the accident occurred.
Joseph Straight of South Glens Falls said he and his mother had seen HINKHAUS' truck "passing everyone on the road" just minutes before the accident.
"This is so sad," said local resident Ray Hargett, who lives in a trailer just 50 yards from the scene. "My kids went to school with them. It's all too bad, because you couldn't do anything."
Police said HINKHAUS was heading northbound when he apparently crossed the center line. ARTHUR ROUSE tried to avoid the oncoming truck, but it struck their car in its front end passenger side, spinning it around and sending it off the road onto a nearby lawn.
Hargett was the first to arrive at the scene after he, his wife and daughter heard the crash. He said he went directly to the truck, where HINKHAUS was dazed but conscious.
Hargett's daughter, a nursing student, went directly to the ROUSES' car.
"She just said 'Get them out, Dad, get them out," Hargett said. "But I couldn't open the door."
Hargett said HINKHAUS got out of his car and went to the back of his truck, where he grabbed a gallon bottle of what appeared to be iced tea and took a long drink.
While investigating the accident members of a State Police team pulled a beverage cooler from the bed of HINKHAUS' truck, and upon opening it, began to take pictures.
"He was conscious," Hargett said of HINKHAUS. "I asked him if he was all right and he said he was."
Meanwhile, Hargett's daughter reached in one side of the ROUSES' car, where she could find no pulse on one of the passengers.
"All you heard was a great big bang," said local resident John Blackmer, who ran from his Route 50 trailer to the scene yards away. "He (HICKHAUS) got out, and was just running around."
Hargett said HINKHAUS appeared to be wearing a seatbelt. He also said SABRINA ROUSE had had an auto accident more than a year ago in nearly the same spot.
"We've had three or four of them (accidents) here in the last year," Hargett said. "It's a bad spot."

Post-Star Glens Falls New York 1991-08-21