By Doug La Rocque
New York State Police said a truck (semi-tractor) stolen early Wednesday morning from Bellevue Builder’s Supply in Schenectady crashed along Route 2 in Petersburgh, ejecting the driver, who was later pronounced dead at the scene. Troopers identified the victim as 61-year-old Joseph Arbing, who they described as a homeless man living in a Schenectady shelter. They believe he was originally from Massachusetts.
The call first came into the Rensselaer County 911 Dispatch Center a little before 4 am, who dispatched the Petersburgh Fire Department and Ambulance to the scene. First responding officers found the victim near the wreckage, and called for a Med Flight helicopter. It canceled en route, however, because of thick early morning fog. The Grafton Fire Department had been dispatched to set up a landing zone at the former elementary school.
State Police said the vehicle was eastbound when the driver lost control past Babcock Road, struck the guard rails on the right side of the road, then struck a tree before rolling over an embankment and into a small stream.
The Department of Environmental Conservation Spill Response team was also called in, as there was a small amount of liquids leaking from the vehicle. It took fire and salvage crews until midday on Wednesday to clear the scene.
Troopers said alcohol was apparently a factor in the crash.