Teen bike rider airlifted, driver handcuffed

Posted at: 08/05/2011 10:48 PM | Updated at: 11/06/2012 12:28 PM
By: Dan Levy

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WESTERLO - A collision between a bicycle and a pick-up truck sent a teenager to Albany Medical Center in a helicopter Friday afternoon and the pick-up driver to court.

The accident happened in the Town of Westerlo, around 4:30 p.m. Friday, on County Route 401, just south of the Westerlo Town Park. Even though all indications point to the bike rider being at fault, none-the-less, the driver was hauled away in handcuffs to face a judge.

A perfect summer afternoon quickly became an imperfect childhood memory on a country road in Westerlo where three teens set out on a bicycle adventure, headed for a sub shop, but wound up right tin the middle of a hill town highway horror.

"It's pretty horrific to almost have somebody die in your hands," said Troy Sweet, 18, of Westerlo.

Sweet, along with 15-year old Kerry Bendel, were riding their bikes southbound on County Route 401, when, for some reason, their friend, 18-year old Joseph Dober, strayed off the shoulder of the road.

"He just swerved across the road when he saw the car and it hit him on the side and he stayed on it for a minute while the car was skidding and they went down in the ditch," Bendel recalled.

""He got caught up under the truck," Sweet added, "His back was all arched over the hood. They went down in the ditch and I just jumped off my bike and ran down there."

The boys quickly realized just how serious the situation was.

"We went over to him and flipped him over and woke him up and got the guy out of the car," Bendel said.

"He fractured his skull and I just did my best to keep him still," Sweet added. "At first, he started moaning and then he was just -- help me up, just let me sit up. I was like --Dude, you don't understand the condition you're in."

Joseph Dober wound up getting airlifted to Albany Medical Center. The driver of the Ford Ranger, 28-year old Robert Loucks of Westerlo. was uninjured, but also, according to authorities, not the reason why the young bike rider was hurt.

Loucks wound up in town court, charged with aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle. The teens wound up with an unforgettably frightening adventure with a tale of irony to go with it.

"It happened to a friend of his, in front of his house," Sweet said, "He was in the position I was in, saving his friend. I guess it's a way of somehow paying it forward."

Joseph Dober underwent surgery Friday night at Albany Medical Center.

Robert Loucks is free on $500 bail and due back in Town Court next week.

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