2008-11-21 / Top Stories

Sanders and Aides In Upstate Car Crash

Councilman: Wearing Seatbelts Saves Lives
By Miriam Rosenberg

Councilman James Sanders Jr., right, is on the way to recovery after a car crash upstate, according to his district manager Donovan Richards, left, who was also injured in the accident. Councilman James Sanders Jr., right, is on the way to recovery after a car crash upstate, according to his district manager Donovan Richards, left, who was also injured in the accident. A heavy rain and a slippery road made for a perilous situation last Saturday as the vehicle Councilman James Sanders Jr. and two colleagues were in flipped over several times near Newburgh, NY. The group was returning from a trip to check out a location for a youth retreat scheduled for next year.

According to a press release from Sanders' office, the crash occurred at approximately 3:15 p.m. when a sudden downpour caused the driver to lose control of the car. All three men were transported to St. Luke Hospital. Sanders, the most seriously injured, was Hospital in Manhattan where he remained in intensive care until Wednesday.

"By the grace of God I am alive today," said Sanders in a press release. "I am receiving excellent care by the hospital staff. I learned first hand that wearing seatbelts saves lives."

According to Donovan Richards, Sanders' district manager who was with the councilman at the time of the crash, there had been two downpours Saturday morning.

"All I did see was the car spin and hit the cement divider," said Richards on Tuesday afternoon. "Our car flipped over two or four times."

Although he doesn't remember much, Richards recalls that he and Sanders attempted to get out of the car after the crash. "We were sitting on the blind spot," he said.

On Tuesday, Richards talked about Sanders' injuries.

"He might have a broken collarbone," said Richards. "He was in critical condition, but is stable now."

On Wednesday, Richards updated Sanders' condition by saying, "Yesterday was a better day. We expect him to be on the road to recovery."

Richards, who believes he has gotten a second chance at life, had a deep head laceration that took nine stitches to close. He credits Sanders for the immediate care he received at the hospital.

"I hold a special place for the councilman who insisted I be taken first," said Richards. "He was in a lot of pain. On a scale of about nine."

Mike Duvall, who was driving, was examined and released from the hospital.

Richards, who said the car was totaled, echoed Sanders' statement about seatbelts.

"The seatbelts saved our lives," said Richards.

The three were on their way back from the Poconos Environmental Educational Center (PEEC) in Pennsylvania where they were checking out the site for a retreat Sanders has scheduled for next April for Rockaway youth.

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