Hudson Valley Man Saves Lives Avoiding School Bus in Fatal Crash
A Hudson Valley man is being remembered as a hero. His final actions were to avoid hitting a school bus.
On Thursday around 8:51 a.m., deputies responded to the report of a two-car motor vehicle accident involving a Saugerties school bus and dump truck on State Route 9W in the Malden area of the Town of Saugerties.
The preliminary investigation conducted by members from the Ulster County Sheriff's Office and New York State Police determined that 53-year-old Janos Koka of Tannersville was attempting to pull out onto State Route 9W from Malden Turnpike in his 2020 Nissan Rogue.
A 2016 International dump truck operated by 35-year-old Jeffrey R. Begreen of Saugerties was traveling southbound on State Route 9W when he swerved to avoid the 2020 Nissan Rogue in his lane of traffic.
When Begreen swerved to avoid contact with the 2020 Nissan Rogue, it put him in the path of an oncoming school bus, which he then also swerved to avoid, causing his dump truck to strike a utility pole and overturn onto its driver's side.
The dump truck then slid down the roadway in the opposite lane of traffic, striking the First Student school bus traveling northbound, which was operated by Brenda J. Oster, 63, of Mount Marion.
Begreen suffered serious injuries as a result of the crash and was pronounced deceased at the scene.
"Such a tragic accident that resulted in the loss of this young man's life. My deepest sympathies to his family. He no doubt saved the lives of others by swerving to avoid crashing into them, at the cost of his own life. So very sad. R.I.P. Jeff," Nancy Razek wrote on Facebook.
Begreen is being remembered as a hero.
"Due to his heroic efforts to avoid the car and the bus, he spared the lives of the other two parties, and ultimately died as a result. He was an amazing human being who died trying to avoid hurting anyone," Krista Smith told Hudson Valley Post.
Jeff previously worked at the Center for Spectrum Services; a school for children with autism. The school is planting a tree and holding a memorial ceremony for him on Wednesday, Smith tells Hudson Valley Post.
The bus driver was transported to the Health Alliance of the Hudson Valley Hospital Broadway Campus with minor injuries.
No children were on the school bus at the time of the accident, according to the Ulster County Sheriff's Office.
Saugerties School District Superintendent Kirk Reinhardt released the following statement:
Early this morning, a First Student school bus contracted by the Saugerties Central School District was involved in an accident with a dump truck on Main Street in Malden. There were no children on the bus when the accident occurred. The driver of the school bus did not appear to have any injuries but was transported to the hospital for evaluation.
We have been informed that this section of the roadway will be closed to traffic for several hours as police continue to investigate the accident. It is possible that there may also be some afternoon drop-off delays, and appreciate your patience and understanding.
Our thoughts are with all those involved. Please continue to drive safely and be especially mindful of school buses on the road.
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