By NICOLE ANTONUCCI
TOWN OF AMSTERDAM -- Minor injuries were reported following a two-vehicle accident that closed lanes in both directions on Route 30 Thursday morning, according to the Montgomery County Sheriff's office.
Deputy NIck Prusky said a white Hyundai Sonata was turning into the Olympic Diner Restaurant from the northbound lane at approximately 10:15 a.m. when a white Chevrolet Tahoe heading south and moving between 40 and 45 mph, collided with the turning vehicle.
Prusky said the driver of the Tahoe had seen the Sonata turning and tried to swerve but struck the front end of the car, then veered off the road into a field south of the Olympic Diner, hitting support cables on an electrical pole.
"He may have lost his brakes at that point. Once he hit the supporting cable, it caught his tire and caused him to veer into the field," Prusky said. "The driver of the Sonata was transported to St. Mary's Hospital for minor injuries. I believe for a laceration. The driver of the truck did not go to the hospital."
Names of the parties involved were not being released, but Prusky said the driver of the Tahoe was a male in his late 20s while the driver of the Avalon was an elderly gentlemen.
Employees at the Olympic Diner said the elderly gentlemen is a regular daily customer who was coming in his for his breakfast.
"I saw [his] car waiting to turn in. I had a customer and was about to pour coffee when I heard 'boom' and the building shook. It sounded like a bomb went off," waitress Patricia Menges said. "I didn't see the other car and I thought [he] had cut the turn early and hit the embankment. I called 911."
Waitress Cindy Kuzniak said she was approaching the front counter to drop off a check when she heard what sounded like an explosion.
"I saw a tire and then the SUV pass the window," she said. "Initially I thought it was a one-car accident. I went outside and the driver had gotten out of his car and started yelling at me because he thought I was involved. I told him to go back and turn his car off and then I went inside."
Menges said her regular customer was shaken up and had a cut on his hand but his main concern was "he was going to miss breakfast."
In addition to the sheriff's office, the Amsterdam Police Department reported to the scene as well as the Fort Johnson Fire Department, members of which were cleaning up the debris and soaping and hosing down the vehicle fluids that leaked on the highway. Both vehicles, with front ends severely damaged, were towed from the scene.
"When you have a vehicle going at that speed, debris is going to fly everywhere," Prusky said.
National Grid was also on seen, fixing downed wires and restoring power to the Olympic Diner.
In the meantime, traffic on Route 30 was at a standstill while police investigated the crash and waited for the tow trucks to arrive. Later, police blocked the highway further south and detoured traffic away from the site.
Brenda Pasqariello, manager of Pleasant Dry Cleaners across the street from the diner, said she didn't see the accident but heard it and then saw the traffic backed up.
"Unfortunately, this is a normal occurrence on this road," she said. "Usually its at the light, not here."