Posted at: 02/22/2013 5:40 PM
Updated at: 02/22/2013 6:13 PM
By: Dan Bazile
COXSACKIE - The Ford Sedan is now a mangled hunk of metal, burned beyond recognition. Police said the driver, Julian With,43, of Coxsackie, didn't make it out alive.
"That's definitely a tragedy because he was a good guy," said With's friend and neighbor David Stafford
He said With, an Iraq war veteran, had been working through a lot of personal problems. Some of them Stafford said were the result of his involvement with the war.
"I heard he had some problems with his wife. But you know, that's life, you know," he said.
One week ago With posted on his public Facebook page that he was losing the two most important women in his life. He said his wife left and his mother had three months to live. But friends said he was always a descent guy trying to work through the tough times.
"We had picnics. He'd come over. He's a nice guy. He put my dad's driveway in. My dad would go over and talk to him and he was a descent guy," Stafford said.
State Police said With was going the wrong way on the Thruway. The 9-11 calls came in just before 1 am Friday about his Ford sedan traveling north in the southbound lanes. Moments later the sedan slammed into a minivan head-on near exit 21b in Coxsackie. The sedan burst into flames.
Police said a front seat passenger in the minivan, Carol Dion, 50, of Ontario, Canada, also died in the crash. The driver of the minivan Karen Weller and her four month-old baby in the back seat, Tajaye Weller, also of Canada, were taken to Albany Medical Center.
The crash is under investigation. Police still don't know where With entered the Thruway.