Elderly Phoenicia couple killed in tractor-trailer accident

By Jay Braman Jr.
An elderly Phoenicia couple was killed Thursday on Route 28 in Boiceville when their car was hit from behind by a tractor and trailer driven by a New Kingston man.

George Un, 86, a backseat passenger in the car, was pronounced dead at the scene, according to deputies with the Ulster County Sheriff’s Department. He had not been wearing a seat belt. His wife, Vera, 83, who was driving the car, was flown by helicopter to Albany Medical Center and died there.

The Uns lived at 35 Woodland Clove Road in Phoenicia.

The tractor and trailer was being driven by William J. Watters, 59, of Winter Hollow Road, New Kingston, according to police. Watters was not reported to have suffered any injuries in the crash.
Police said the Un’s car, a 2004 Honda Civic, was headed east but was stopped in the area of the Boiceville Inn, waiting to make a left turn, at about 12:20 p.m. and that the tractor and trailer, driven by Watters failed to notice the stopped car and rammed it in the rear, pushing it more than 100 feet down the highway.

Route 28 was closed for nearly six hours after the crash, with traffic being detoured onto adjacent roads.

As of Tuesday, no charges had been filed against Watters because there are still unanswered questions about the accident, police said.

Sheriff Paul Van Blarcum said Monday the investigation is continuing and that police will be meeting with the Ulster County District Attorney’s office to go over all the facts of the case. Police are not certain of how fast Watters was going at the time of the accident.

The crash occurred on the steep hill just east of Boiceville’s main business district.

The sheriff’s office was assisted at the scene by the Town of Olive police and fire departments, the Olive Ambulance Squad, Mobile Life Support Services and the state police.

This was the second fatal accident on the same stretch of Route 28 in Boiceville in less than a month. On August 10, Jordan Soderback, 19, of Arkville, died after being thrown from the backseat of a car and pinned under the vehicle after it flipped over. The driver of the car, Erica Miller, 31, also of Arkville, was charged with a misdemeanor count of driving while ability impaired by drugs, as well as several less serious infractions.

Police said she was under the influence of prescription medications. Police said Miller swerved to avoid striking a vehicle in front of her, lost control of her car and struck a guardrail, causing the car to overturn and end up on its roof.