ELBRIDGE -- Two people were killed in a fiery, three-car crash on Route 5 in Elbridge Wednesday, the third and most serious accident within a 1.5 mile stretch of the road to occur within two hours.
Ronald Mabb, 68, of Elbridge, and his passenger, who will not be publicly identified until Thursday, were westbound on Route 5 near the Dollar General just before 2 p.m. when their Kia was rear ended by a tractor trailer, burst into flames and struck a pick-up truck in front of it. A three-car crash about 150 yards east and a two-car crash about 200 yards west preceded the fatal accident, said Sgt. John D'Eredita, of the Onondaga County Sheriff's Office.
The driver of the pick-up truck, Michael Lockwood, 31, of Wolcott, was taken to Auburn Memorial Hospital with non life-threatening injuries. The driver of the tractor trailer, Kevin Lamay II, 26, of Rome, and his passenger, a co-worker, John Barringer, 33, of West Winfield, were uninjured, said D'Eredita.
More than three hours after the crash, fire trucks, police cruisers and EMS vehicles crowded the accident scene. A tractor trailer labeled "Casa Imports" with its driver's side light bashed in was parked diagonally in the road. Nearby, a pick-up with John Deere decals had its hood bent leaned to one side, where a back wheel was missing.
Local business owners, homeowners and shoppers stood outside, talking amongst themselves and peering in the direction of the wreckage.
"All we saw was smoke and fire," said Samantha Young, who was working at her mother's salon, Shear Color, located on Route 5.
Authorities said traffic was slowed prior to the fatal crash because of a previous accident, in which no one was seriously injured, at about 1:30 p.m. near the intersection of Route 5 and Sandbank Road. Lamay failed to stop with traffic.
Annette Young, owner of Shear Color, said she and her daughter rushed outside when they heard "something smack together" just yards away from the shop, where the second accident of the afternoon occurred. While helping the passengers of one vehicle in that accident, they saw the third crash.
"We saw black smoke, then we saw the fire departments run to them," said Annette.
"We saw it blow," Samantha said.
Sheriff's deputies responding to the second accident rushed down the road when they saw Mabb's car burst into flames, but were unable to rescue Mabb and his passenger in time.
The first accident of the afternoon occurred at about 12:15 p.m., about 150 yards east of the fatal crash.
Route 5 remained closed to traffic between Fikes and Sandbank roads into Wednesday night.
Police said the area is not known to be particularly dangerous or accident prone.
Staff writer Sarah Gantz can be reached at 282-2237 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at CitizenGantz.