A pickup truck driver reportedly blew right through a stop sign coming off of Fargo Road, Bethany, just before 11 a.m., Friday, and struck a semi-truck head on that was northbound on Route 63.
Investigators are trying to determine if alcohol and prescription medication were factors in the crash.
The pickup driver, Gene L. Kelsey, 70, of Pekin Road, Oakfield, was taken by Mercy Flight to Strong Memorial Hospital where is his listed in guarded condition.
Kelsey's passenger, Michael Snyder, unknown age and residence, was initially transported to UMMC -- after walking to the ambulance -- but was later transferred to Strong. He remains hospitalized in satisfactory condition.
The semi-truck driver, George Wolwerk, 51, of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, was not injured.
"When I first saw him (Kelsey) he was already past that stop sign and he was traveling at a fair amount of speed," Wolwerk said. "I saw him and next thing I knew all the steam from the radiator was coming out over the top (of the front of the cab)."
Investigators said they believe Kelsey, driving a 2001 Dodge 1500 pickup, did not stop at the stop sign and yield to traffic on Route 63.
Neither Kelsey nor Snyder were reportedly wearing safety belts.
NYSP's commercial vehicle enforcement unit conducted a level one inspection of the tractor-trailer and found no deficiencies.
The Sheriff's Office Crash Management Team is working on a reconstruction of the accident.
Bethany Fire Chief Jeff Fluker said the intersection "has been a problem in the past, with a curve like this and the angle coming off the road," but most people he said, know to stop for the stop sign and take a good look before proceeding onto Route 63.
Wolwerk said he's quite familiar with the road and know he needs to slow down as he approaches the curve on Route 63 just north of Fargo Road.
He said he did the best he could to avoid the accident.
"At that moment you're helpless and you just do what you can to try and minimize the loss," Wolwerk said.
This isn't Wolwerk's first serious accident. He said some years ago a "dear old lady" failed to stop for a stop sign and wrapped her car around his axels. She didn't survive, he said.
Asked if that's the kind of thing a truck driver ever gets over, Wolwerk said, "You have to have the guts to get over that type of thing, and yeah, you do. Truck drivers out here, they got a job that is very demanding."
The accident is being investigated by Deputy John Duyssen and Sgt. Scott Williams. Assisting at the scene where the Bethany Volunteer Fire Department, Pavilion Volunteer Fire Department, Mercy EMS, Mercy Flight and the State Police.