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Injuries Reported in Route 44 Head-On Collision

Three sent to hospital after Tuesday morning accident in Canton.

At approximately 10 a.m. Tuesday, emergency officials from Canton and surrounding towns responded to the scene of a head-on collision on Route 44 near Bristol's Farm. 

The accident involved a silver Jeep and Ford E-Series Transport van, police said. 

The town of Canton Volunteer Fire and EMS Department, with the help of crews from New Hartford, had to extricate two people from a wheel-chair accessible van and one from another vehicle, fire officials said. The department requested LifeStar but the emergency helicopter was unavailable due to weather. 

Police said both drivers and the van passenger were transported to the hospital but injuries did not appear life threatening. The driver of the Jeep Liberty, identified as Whitney Gostyla of Farmington, was later released from the hospital, police said. Tuesday evening, there was no immediate word on the condition of the van driver, identified as Cindy Finkle of Southfield, MA, or her passenger.

Initial reports indicated the potential for much more serious injuries and crews were initially dealing with the unknown of how many passengers were in the van, Police Sgt. Mark Penney said. 

A portion of Route 44 was closed by Fire Police during the accident and reopened at approximately 11 a.m. After the vehicles were towed and firefighters cleaned vehicle fluids from the roadway. 

Units from Simsbury and New Hartford provided "mutual aid" during the incident, fire officials said. 

Police are investigating the accident. Penney said the initial investigation indicates the westbound jeep swerved into the eastbound lane, crashing into the van. No charges have been filed. 


johndean December 04, 2012 at 06:27 PM
please update this story again
Andrew Ziemba December 04, 2012 at 10:24 PM
To all drivers on 44: SLOW DOWN AND WATCH WHERE YOU ARE GOING! WOW! It just pisses me off so much. What is so important that you can't watch where you are going and SLOW DOWN? People are SO nuts on 44. It seems they always will be.
Diane December 05, 2012 at 12:08 PM
Yesterday there was a great deal of fog. So many people so not think to put their head lights on in fog or even rain. I see it all the time. If you are one of these people, let me tell you, we can not see you! You put not only yourself at risk, but all the other cars on the road too. And get off that phone!!!
Diane December 05, 2012 at 12:38 PM
sorry, I meant so many people DO NOT put their lights on.
Chris Carroll December 05, 2012 at 02:24 PM
Thanks to Simsbury and New Hartford!
Betty December 05, 2012 at 05:02 PM
I agree with Andrew and Diane, I drove to Simsbury the other day in the very heavy fog, so many cars did not have their lights on. People complain about traffic lights but the reality is they force people to slow down and they are timed to allow access to RT44. I believe it is still true that since the light went up for The Shoppe there have not been any fatal accidents there. So often people drive on RT 44 and RT179 like they were interstate highways and with little regard for people bike or foot.
Wyatt December 05, 2012 at 08:25 PM
@Betty. I think much of it has to do with frustration. I rarely drive on rt 44 or 179 during rush hour, but when I have, cars were going very fast and people were quite agitated by slow cars. I think the problem lies with Canton's status as a commuter town without an easy way to commute to or from it. Anyone crazy enough to live in Canton and commute to Bristol, Hartford or West Hartford must be subject to very difficult commutes. I could only imagine how long it must take. Canton's lack of accessbility is probably its main impediment to attracting business - no easy way in or out from other population centers.

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