Two Killed in Route 4 Crash in Quechee
Hartford Police Officer Jay Pedro walks between two cars that collided head-on yesterday morning on Route 4 and killed two people east of the Quechee Gorge bridge. (Valley News — Jennifer Hauck) Purchase photo reprints »
Hartford Police Deputy Chief Brad Vail and Hartford Public Safety Director Steve Locke speak to the media about the fatal accident on Route 4. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Purchase photo reprints »
A photo keychain of Corey Daniels’ lies in his car at the accident scene yesterday. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Purchase photo reprints »
Hartford Police Officer Jay Pedro, left, and Deputy Chief Brad Vail walk between two cars involved in a double fatal accident along Route 4.(Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Purchase photo reprints »
Quechee — A Hartford man and a Woodstock woman died and a teenager was seriously injured yesterday in a head-on collision on a sharp curve on Route 4.
Corey Daniels, a 38-year-old father of three , and 63-year-old Nina Dimick were killed in the 9:30 a.m. accident, which forced authorities to close both lanes of Route 4 in Quechee for six hours.
A 17-year-old female passenger in Daniels’ vehicle suffered severe but non-life threatening injuries, police said, and was being treated at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center late yesterday.
Dimick was traveling eastbound in a 1995 Toyota Camry when she briefly crossed the center line and struck the rear wheel of a small trailer that was being towed by a pickup truck, according to police. The wheel was ripped off the trailer, and the Camry then slammed into Daniels 2002 Subaru Forrester as he drove in the westbound lane.
While the investigation is ongoing, Hartford Deputy Police Chief Brad Vail said Dimick was at fault in both collisions. However, police do not believe that she was speeding or impaired, and are unsure why she crossed the center line, Vail said.
“We don’t know if it was a medical (issue),” Vail said. “We’re not sure.”
Daniels, who was not wearing a seat belt, was pronounced dead at the scene, three miles from his home.
Hartford firefighters extricated Dimick, who was pronounced dead at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. It was unclear if she was wearing a seatbelt.
The driver of the truck, 71-year-old Roger Cann of Macungie, Pa., was uninjured. Cann could not be reached for comment yesterday.
Authorities did not state the relationship between Daniels and the 17-year-old female.
Daniels’ friend Heather Demers, of Hartford, said he was devoted to his three children, his wife Belinda Daniels, and her two children.
“He was funny, he was kind, and he was caring,” Demers said in a phone interview. “He was a really good dad, a great husband — it’s really sad. I think everybody is shocked. He was happy all the time. He always had a smile on his face.”
Daniels, who grew up in Windsor, was married twice. His first wife, Crystal, died in 2007.
“The family has been through a lot,” Demers said.
In 2008, Daniels married Belinda Perez in a ceremony at the Hartland Recreational Center.Family members could not be reached for comment late yesterday.
Dimick grew up in the Richmond, Vt., area, the youngest of six children, her oldest sister Kathryn Wendling, of Woodstock, said last night. Her name was pronounced “Nine-Ah,” after a family friend, said Wendling, and she lived alone.
Wendling said she learned of her sister’s passing when she saw a report on the TV news last night. She declined further comment.
Dimick’s son Stephen died in 2008 at the age of 33, prompting her to write a letter to the Valley News praising local health care workers.
The collision occurred in a 45 mph speed zone less than a mile west of Fat Hat Clothing Co., near the intersection with Hathaway Road, on a sharp curve that would have made it difficult for Daniels to see oncoming traffic. Authorities said road conditions and weather were not factors in the collision, which resulted in a grisly scene.
The steering wheel of Daniels’ Forrester was launched into the middle of Route 4. Dimick’s Camry came to rest atop a guardrail in the opposite lane, with the back end in the air, driver’s seat pointed toward the pavement.
A DHART helicopter landed at the Fat Hat to drop off a medical crew and supplies. The victims were transported via ambulance to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Hartford Public Safety Director Steve Locke said.
A Vermont State Police accident reconstruction team investigated the collision. Traffic was diverted for six hours down Quechee Main Street and Deweys Mills Road, causing minor backups.
Mark Davis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 603-727-3304.