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Democrat Photo by Nathan Mayberg

A TWISTED PILE of wreckage was all that remained of 16-year-old C.J. Bittinger’s 1997 Hyundai Thursday night near Monticello. According to police, speed was likely the contributing factor to this accident on Sackett Lake Road – right where a similar crash happened a year ago, taking three young lives in the process.

Tragic Location
Exacts Another Toll

By Nathan Mayberg
SACKETT LAKE — May 31, 2005 – C.J. Bittinger, 16, of Monticello, was in critical condition last week after his car struck a tree Thursday night on Sackett Lake Road in the Town of Thompson – in the same exact location as a triple-fatal accident there last summer.
According to Sullivan County Sheriff’s Department Sergeant Luis Alvarez, the boy’s grandfather reported that he was in stable condition Friday.
Sullivan County Sheriff’s Detective Don Starner determined that speed was a contributing factor to the accident.
According to a release by the department, Bittinger lost control of the 1997 Hyundai after rounding the curve where teenagers Sierra Cerrone, Ashley Morgan and Maximilian Gonzalez were killed in a similar accident last June.
Bittinger’s vehicle slid off the roadway, and he rolled over and down an embankment, striking a tree.
The Monticello Fire Department responded quickly and extricated Bittinger from the car in quick fashion, cutting it open to do so. The car was twisted up in the tree, while another tree was knocked down.
Deputy Chief Carl Houman led the extrication, along with past chief Alan Kesten and Lieutenant Pedro Agosto.
When Bittinger emerged, numerous department volunteers helped hand him over to MobileMedic, which provided him with oxygen.
He suffered internal and facial injuries and appeared pale before being tended to by MobileMedic. After MobileMedic staff treated him with oxygen, his color improved, and he was flown to Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla via helicopter.
Starner listed the young man’s condition as “very critical” at the time of the accident, but he has since improved due to the quick response time by local emergency volunteers, professionals, and his treatment at Valhalla.

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