Two men died in a crash Friday morning when a tractor trailer left Route 104, crashed down an embankment and struck a Monroe County worker standing in a storm drain on Hudson Avenue.
State police believe the driver of the Leonard's Express rig, 58-year-old Tracy Premo of Palmyra, was traveling east on 104 when he suffered a medical emergency. The truck left the expressway, hit a light pole, then rolled into the Hudson Avenue intersection.
"We believe at this time the operator may have had a medical emergency, left the roadway, came off Route 104 down the access road and struck the pedestrian," said State Police Public Information Officer Trooper Mark O'Donnell.
Two county employees working near the intersection were in the truck's path. One escaped. The other, 30-year-old Jeffrey Farrell of Rochester, was struck while he was in the drain and died instantly.
Premo was pinned inside the vehicle. Firefighters needed to use hydraulic spreaders to remove him so he could be treated by paramedics. He died at the scene.
Two other vehicles were struck by the tractor trailer. The driver of a white Cadillac was taken to Rochester General Hospital as a precaution. The driver of the other vehicle walked away from the crash without injury, according to Rochester police.
Leonard's Express is a trucking company based in Farmington. CEO Kenneth Johnson responded to the death of Premo and Farrell in a statement: "We are a family at Leonard's Express and our hearts are broken."
Police are investigating the tractor trailer to see if anything could have led to the crash. Authorities do not believe Friday's morning snow and slick road conditions were factors.
Among the first responders and law enforcement agents who turned out at the scene of the crash were Monroe County officials, including County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo. She met with county employees who witnessed the crash. She later visited the Farrell family.
In a statement, Dinolfo said: "In this very difficult time, I ask everyone to join me in keeping the family, our dedicated county employees, and all those who were impacted by this tragic event in our thoughts and prayers.”
Residents near the scene gathered in the cold to learn about the crash, including Annie Piptrot. She prayed for the families and spoke about how cruel fate can be.
"If I'd left like I planned on leaving [Friday] at 8:30, it probably would have been me," she said.
Flags in Monroe County will be flown half-staff in Farrell's honor through January 24.