August 17, 2007


Two men airlifted after I-81 accident

Honda Civic veers from southbound lane, rolling over and ejecting the men.


Joe McIntyre/staff photographer
New York state troopers and Preble emergency technicians tend to two men after a rollover on southbound Route 81 this morning. Both men were ejected from the car, which came to rest on the west side of the road just north of Exit 13 in Preble.

Staff Reporter

PREBLE — A one-car rollover this morning on southbound Interstate 81 ejected two men from the vehicle, who were flown by helicopter to University Hospital in Syracuse.
Police had not released the men’s names or their conditions as of this morning, but did say their injuries could be life-threatening.
State Trooper Daniel Huff said the accident happened at around 7:40 a.m. when the driver of the car, a silver Honda Civic, veered off the southbound lanes and traveled around 50 yards just off the western shoulder of the road. The car struck a temporary concrete barrier, followed by a permanent guardrail, rolling several times and coming to rest on the passenger’s side.
The men went off the road just a few feet south of the Exit 13 ramp.
“You always have a chance of the injuries being life-threatening when someone is ejected from the vehicle,” Huff said.
At the time of the accident, a construction crew from Cardona and Sons of Schenectady was working on the Route 281 overpass just south of where the car went off the road.
Rick Cross, an employee of Cardona and Sons, said he saw the accident and called 911.
“It looks like he just fell asleep and went off the road,” Cross said.
Cross said he believes the car rolled either three or four times before coming to a stop.
The first of the two men was transported by helicopter at around 8:15 a.m. The second man was flown out at around 8:45 a.m.



Attorney general:

Insurance firm may have duped local seniors

Staff Reporter

More than a dozen area senior citizens have signed contracts with a Pennsylvania-based company that the state attorney general says has defrauded seniors across the state.
Attorney General Andrew Cuomo filed suit Tuesday against Homeward Bound Services of North America, a company that sells policies aimed at covering home health care for seniors, on behalf of approximately 600 state residents who have contracted with the company. The company is based in Pennsylvania.
Among those 600, eight seniors who have contracted with Homeward Bound live in Cortland, two live in Homer, two live in Dryden, one lives in Groton and one lives Moravia, according to the Attorney General’s Office.
According to a news release, Cuomo is charging that the company offered a product called an Assisted Living Services Agreement that essentially promised, for an upfront fee of several thousands dollars, to cover the costs of home health care.
Homeward Bound failed to deliver on those promises, said Attorney General’s Office spokesman John Milgrim, who said the office has uncovered numerous instances in which seniors had to have home health care canceled because the company was not picking up the costs.
“They haven’t provided the services that were contracted … some victims paid over $15,000 and ended up being taken for a ride,” said Milgrim, who noted the suit charges Homeward Bound was guilty of deception and fraud. “They were targeting a vulnerable population and preying on their fears of having to be placed in a nursing home.”
The program was marketed as a service “designed to keep senior citizens out of nursing homes,” according to the press release.
Milgrim said none of the local seniors who have contracted with Homeward Bound have contacted the Attorney General’s Office to his knowledge, and none filed affidavits for the lawsuit.
The press release notes that the list of 600 senior citizens was obtained from Homeward Bound’s records.
“We have a list of the potential victims, but a lot of people don’t even know it yet,” Milgrim said.
Anyone who has contracted with Homeward Bound can contact the attorney general’s Syracuse regional office at (315) 448-4800.
The attorney general has received a temporary restraining order from Supreme Court Justice Joseph D. Mintz in Buffalo, barring Homeward Bound from selling or renewing agreements in New York state.
Milgrim was unsure of how the timeline for the lawsuit would proceed.
State residents paid at least $1.2 million to the company, Milgrim said, and if the lawsuit is successful, those who have contracted with the company would likely receive a refund check in the mail.
Carol Deloff, director of the Cortland County Area Agency on Aging, said she was researching the situation, and stressed that senior citizens with questions on services like the ones offered by Homeward Bound should contact her agency.
“If anyone’s approached, or if anyone has some questions about any program anyone’s trying to sell, they’re more than welcome to contact us and we’ll check it out, and if we haven’t heard of it, we’ll make sure we learn about it,” Deloff said.



Thunderstorm downs trees, power lines

Two houses in the northern part of Cortland County still were without power this morning, after damage from wind, thunderstorms and hail knocked down trees in the area.
The National Weather Service in Binghamton said this morning that thunderstorms moved through the area at around 5:40 p.m. Thursday as a result of a cold front. The storm created some penny-sized hail, said a meteorologist, who was unsure how much if any serious damage was done by the storm.
The storm downed power lines and trees, including a tree that fell across a garage and house on Mead Road in Homer. No serious damage was reported to authorities.
According the National Grid Web site, one house in Homer and one in Preble did not have power this morning; power is expected to back on by 1 p.m.
An official from National Grid could said this morning other outages were brief and sporadic. The storm brushed over the Cortland County area, he said.
Officials from the Cortland County 911 Center said this morning that they did not receive any reports of serious damage done by the storm.
Officials from the Homer and Preble fire and highway departments could not be reached for comment.
— Tony Sylor