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New Route to Work Led Victim to Site of Fatal Crash

October 6, 1992

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) _ Until her daughter was born, Mary Edsell had no reason to be on Interstate 190 through downtown Buffalo. She only started using that route so she could take her baby, now 6 months old, to her mother’s house.

During Monday’s morning rush hour, after Mrs. Edsell had dropped off her daughter, Clara, five rolls of steel weighing 7,000 pounds each fell off a truck onto her car and two others along that freeway, killing her and three other commuters.

″This was something new for her, since the baby was born,″ said Cindy Curran, who taught nursing classes with Mrs. Edsell at Millard Fillmore Hospital in Buffalo. ″Every day now, that was her route.″

State police investigator Anthony Domagala said Tuesday that inspectors had found safety deficiencies with the truck that was carrying the rolls of steel.

Domagala said investigators had not determined if those defects caused the accident or whether they warranted charges against the truck company or the driver, who wasn’t injured.

Before Clara was born, Mrs. Edsell, 38, had a mile-and-a-half drive to work along city streets from her home on Buffalo’s west side.

Another victim, Patricia Krug, 42, of Buffalo, had moved a few months ago and also was taking a new route. She was a secretary at the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Base, said Dr. Michael Torres, a flight surgeon who worked with her.

He said she always arrived at work on time. ″If it wasn’t for her punctuality, she wouldn’t have been there,″ he said.

Torres also knew Mrs. Edsell, who had worked with him at a Buffalo hospital.

The other victims, Shane Hill, 49, and his wife, Louise, 51, drove together every day from their home in Lackawanna, south of Buffalo, to the northern suburb of Tonawanda where they worked at two trucking companies.

A neighbor of Mrs. Edsell, Sonia Cravatta, said Mrs. Edsell and her husband, Richard, had been trying to have a baby for 10 years.

Mrs. Edsell had returned to work six weeks after having her baby, Mrs. Curran said.

″Mary wasn’t happy till she was working,″ she said. ″She was a very dedicated nurse. She wanted those students to learn everything she knew.″

Nursing students named Mrs. Edsell teacher of the year last May and dedicated their yearbook to her.

″Mrs. Edsell has greatly touched all of our lives in an immeasurable way,″ students wrote in the yearbook. ″She has engraved in us responsibility, accountability, caring and empathy.″

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