On Tuesday afternoon, Pierson senior Olivia Cunningham and Ross School sophomore Emily Watson were involved in a serious collision with a flatbed truck on Route 114, say East Hampton Town police. A portion of Route 114 south of Ross School near Montauk Boulevard was closed for roughly an hour due to the extent of the accident.
According to police, Cunningham, who was traveling south on Route 114, attempted to make a left turn onto Montauk Boulevard when a Southampton Brick and Tile flatbed truck plowed into the back end of her 1993 black Honda Civic. Police believe Cunningham was dropping off Watson, who lives on Montauk Boulevard. Watson was sitting in the front passenger seat. Cunningham’s mother, Katrina, works in the accounting department at Ross School.
Police say the car spun out onto the side of the roadway on impact. In the initial minutes after the accident, Cunningham exited the car and was screaming Watson’s name, says an eyewitness. At the scene, Watson, 15, was said to be incoherent, exhibiting signs of shock and suffering from a head laceration. She was airlifted to the Stony Brook University Medical Center’s trauma unit in a Suffolk County Police helicopter. Cunningham, 17, of Sag Harbor, complained of neck pain but was mostly alert. She was transported to Southampton Hospital. The driver of the truck, August Bouker, 67, of East Hampton appeared to be fine, though his vehicle had some front-end damage.
The cause of the accident is still under investigation, reports East Hampton Police Lieutenant Christopher Hatch. Though it appears, says Lt. Hatch, that Bouker failed to see Cunningham attempt to make the turn. Witnesses still need to be interviewed, he added.
“They are very lucky,” said Lt. Hatch of the two young women. “There was the potential for a large spill of gasoline. All things set aside they were very lucky that the structural parts of the car held up.”
“I am relieved to report that both Emily and Olivia are bruised and badly shaken but basically okay given the situation,” wrote Michele Claeys, head of Ross, in a letter to school faculty and staff on Wednesday. “Emily, who is at Stony Brook Hospital, does have a broken right wrist … and a deep gash across the back of her head at her hairline that will be stitched, as well as a possible minor chip at the base of her skull. All tests for internal injuries have come back negative.”