Eight sent to hospital after suburban rolls while passing

TOWN OF VERONA — Eight people were sent to the hospital following a one-vehicle crash on Route 31 near Vernon-Verona-Sherrill High School Saturday.

The driver only possessed a learner’s permit at the time of the crash, State Police at Oneida said.

Cody J. Domena, 17, of Oneida, was operating at 2004 Chevrolet Trail Blazer westbound when he lost control while passing another vehicle at 8:11 p.m., Trooper Timothy Dougherty said. The suburban exited the north shoulder of the roadway and struck and severed a utility pole, then overturned. The vehicle came to rest in a field on its driver’s side, Dougherty said.

One passenger was ejected from the Blazer and was transported by Vineall Ambulance to St. Elizabeth Medical Center, Utica, for head trauma. Another passenger was air lifted by Mercy Flight to Upstate Medical Center, Syracuse, with serious leg trauma. Injuries to both victims were not life-threatening, Dougherty said. Six other passengers were transported to area hospitals with various minor injuries. The identities of the passengers were not released. The road was closed for several hours while National Grid crews removed the power lines from the roadway.

Verona and Vernon fire departments, as well as sheriff’s deputies assisted.

Dougherty said unsafe speed and driver inexperience were the primary causes of the accident. An investigation continues.