HARTFORD — No charges had been filed as of Friday afternoon in motor vehicle collision that killed a Connecticut Army National Guard soldier and injured another on I-95 in Rye, N.Y., police said.
The 21/2-ton Army National Guard truck and a civilian vehicle, driven by Odson Meritle, 40, of Stamford, were southbound I-95 in Westchester County when they crashed near Exit 21 at 10:22 a.m., New York State Police said.
A National Guard spokesman said Friday that Staff Sgt. Ronald Patterson Jr., of Bridgeport, was killed in the crash. Sgt. 1st class Kayla Anne Downey, of Shelton, was taken to a hospital for treatment.
Downey had been in critical condition, but is improving, according to Col. Michael E. Wieczorek, chief of staff for the Connecticut Army National Guard.
Meritle's injuries were non-life threatening, police said. She was taken to a local hospital after the accident.
Wieczorek said the two soldiers were traveling in a Light Medium Tactical Vehicle, or LMTV, and were being followed by two other soldiers in a government van. They were transporting spent ammunition from a recent training exercise to Fort Dix, N.J.
Patterson and Downey are both members of A Company, 192nd Engineer Battalion, based in Stratford, a spokesman said.
No charges have been filed Friday afternoon, New York State Police said. The accident is still under investigation.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Staff Sgt. Patterson and with Sgt. 1st Class Downey and her family," said Maj. Gen. Thaddeus J. Martin, adjutant general and commander of the Connecticut National Guard. "The full resources of the Connecticut National Guard will be available to the families and fellow Soldiers of Patterson and Downey who have been affected by this tragedy."
Authorities did not identify any of the victims Thursday afternoon. The rank and unit of the soldiers also were being withheld pending notification of families.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy ordered flags be lowered to half-staff and to remain that way until the services for the Patterson are held.
"We join the Connecticut National Guard in mourning the loss of one of our brave soldiers, and our prayers for a quick and full recovery go out to the soldier who was injured," Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said in a statement.
Wieczorek said all drivers are required to have 40 hours of classroom training along with 40 hours of training in the vehicle. Drivers also must complete an annual check and safety briefing.
All drivers, Wieczorek said, must possess a valid driver's license.
Courant Staff Writer Christine Dempsey contributed to this story.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun