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January 9, 2011

A pregnant woman is dead after snowplow struck and killed her, and her dog, on Friday in New York.

The incident occurred in the Town of Lewisboro of Westchester County, about 50 miles North of Manhattan.

Andrea Fernandez Acevedo, 34 years old, was walking her dog in the Oakridge Condominium complex just before 5:00 pm on Friday when a the driver of a plow truck hit her and her dog, reports the Lewisboro Ledger. Despite quick emergency medical attention from firefighters of the firehouse across the street from the complex where the incident occurred and transportation by ambulance to Norwalk Hospital in Norwalk, CT, the woman died from her injuries. Her dog also died.

Witnesses told reporters from The Journal News that the woman suffered extensive injuries and her dog crushed.

“This is obviously a tragedy .Our people did the best they could but, unfortunately, she was too gravely injured for us to save her, which is frustrating,” Vista Fire Chief Bill Dingee told the Lewisboro Ledger.

Ms. Fernandez Acevedo was about six months pregnant.

Stephen J. Vasale of Norwalk, the driver of the private company plow truck, was uninjured.

On December 26, 2010, the New York State Department of Transportation issued a news release reminding people to use caution around snowplows.

“Snow plow operators have difficulty seeing motorists and pedestrians that are too close to the plows because their field of vision is limited due to blind spots,” the NSDOT said. “In addition, the wing blades of these vehicles obscure side views. The size and weight of snowplows make them difficult to maneuver or stop quickly, especially since the highway ahead of a plow often is slippery or snow-covered. These are all reasons to give plows plenty of room.”

The NYSDOT recommended motorists and pedestrians adhere to the following guidelines:

  • Stay a safe distance away from snowplows. The safest place for motorists is well behind the snowplows where the road is clear and salted. The safest place for pedestrians is on the sidewalk, and in clear vision of the snowplow driver.
  • Never assume that a plow driver can see you.
  • Yield to a snowplow, giving the plow a wide berth with room to maneuver.
  • Beware of deicing materials that may be released from the plow and keep your distance from them.
  • Motorists should make sure to have clear vision ahead and that passing is permitted before attempting to pass a snowplow.
    *On two-lane roads where passing is not permitted, be patient.
    *Be mindful of where snowplows are on multi-lane highways. Watch for plows in travel lanes, on a shoulder or entering the road from a ramp or median turnaround. They also may need to back up, which may impede routine traffic flow.
  • After passing a snowplow, use caution when returning to the driving lane ahead of the plow. The plow blade extends several feet ahead of the truck.
  • Move as far away from the center line as safely possible when meeting a snowplow on a two-lane road coming from the opposite direction.
  • Watch for "white-outs" created by blowing snow coming off the snowplow blade.
  • Don’t travel beside a plow for sustained periods, especially when the plow is cutting through deep snow. Plows can be pushed sideways after hitting drifts or snow banks.

New York State Police are requesting anyone with information or who may have witnessed the incident to call 914-277-3177.

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