Headstones were toppled and one person suffered minor injuries after a 70-year-old man suffered from a medical condition while driving Tuesday morning in the town of Dunkirk.
According to the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office, Larry Wollert of Dunkirk was traveling southbound on Route 60 at around 10 a.m. when he lost consciousness. He veered into the northbound lane of traffic and sideswiped a vehicle driven by Kim Robbins, 53, of Fredonia.
Robbins’ vehicle stayed in the road after the crash and ended up on the east side of Route 60, but Wollert’s vehicle left the roadway and struck a telephone pole on the corner of Williams Street East. The vehicle continued through St. Mary’s Cemetery, striking several headstones before coming to a stop.
Dan Hillman, the financial administration coordinator for the cemetery, said they are still figuring out the total cost of damage that occurred to the grounds. However, he did say a total of 12 headstones were knocked over or damaged.
“We are currently playing a waiting game as we look at everything,” he said. “We are waiting for a local monument company to send us an estimate.”
Hillman also said a representative from the cemeteries division of the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo is expected to come look at the damage on Thursday.
As for the two drivers and their cars:
“The female driver’s vehicle is repairable since it only got sideswiped, but the male driver’s vehicle was completely totaled,” said Paul Miller of the East Town Dunkirk Fire Department, which responded to the incident. Miller was the chief-in-charge at the accident sight.
Both drivers were transported to Brooks Memorial Hospital with non-life threatening injuries. According to Miller, Wollert received a minor shoulder injury.
“Robbins was more upset than hurt,” he said. “Her side airbag went off when she was hit. She was taken to the hospital more as a precaution.”
No charges have been filed in the case.
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