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Katie Twarog of Colonie critically injured in Christmas Day crash

Mother killed

Katie Twarog, Colonie NY senior distance star, was critically injured in an auto crash Christmas Day (12/25/00) that killed her mother, Cynthia Twarog, 48.  Katie was driving in icy, windy conditions when the car veered into a head-on collision with an oncoming car.  The Twarogs were headed for Hartford CT to visit relatives.  Twarog, who was out most of the 2000 cross country season with a stress fracture, recently accepted a scholarship at Providence College.  She is in intensive care in Pittsfield MA. 

Details from the Albany NY Times Union

'Twarog in intensive care after collision' 

By TIM REYNOLDS, Staff writer 

First published: Wednesday, December 27, 2000 

Colonie High School senior distance-running standout Katie Twarog was in the intensive-care unit of a Pittsfield, Mass., hospital Tuesday evening because of injuries suffered in a Christmas Day automobile accident in which her mother was killed. Cynthia Twarog, a 48-year-old Guilderland resident, was a passenger in the vehicle her daughter was driving and died at the scene from multiple injuries suffered in a two-car accident in Great Barrington, Mass., on Monday, police said. 

Katie Twarog, 17, was taken to Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield, where she was upgraded from critical to guarded condition on Tuesday evening, according to a nursing supervisor at the hospital. 

Police said Katie Twarog, a former state cross-country champion who also is the reigning state outdoor track champion in the 3,000-meter run, was driving in the eastbound lane on Maple Avenue in Great Barrington shortly before noon Monday when her 1988 Pontiac drifted into the westbound lane. The vehicle collided head-on with a 1992 GMC Yukon driven by Richard Hart, 40, of Pittsfield, police said. Richard Hart and his wife, 53-year-old Cheryl Hart -- a passenger in the vehicle -- were taken to Fairview Hospital in Great Barrington. A spokeswoman there said Cheryl Hart was in good condition Tuesday evening with non-life-threatening injuries, and that her husband was treated and released Monday. 

Barb Figuereo, an administrative director at Berkshire Medical Center, said she didn't know how long Katie Twarog would remain in intensive care. "She's still very sick,'' Figuereo said. Citing hospital policy, Figuereo said she could not release other details about Twarog's condition. 

Frank Myers, one of Twarog's running coaches at Colonie for the past six years, said she suffered no broken bones in the crash. Myers received word of the accident early Tuesday morning, told some of Twarog's teammates on the school's indoor track-and-field team, then drove to Pittsfield to be with Twarog. "I think there's room for optimism,'' said Myers, who said he did not speak with Twarog on Tuesday. "If anyone can get through this, she can. The kid is in shape. I didn't know if she would make it before I got there, but after leaving there (Tuesday), I'm confident that she'll make it.'' 

The Twarogs were on their way to Hartford, Conn., to visit relatives. Although police are still investigating, they are speculating that either a snowdrift or icy conditions caused Katie Twarog to lose control and veer into the oncoming lane. It was not snowing, but there were strong wind gusts at the time of the crash, police said. 

Twarog was the 1998 state Class A girls' cross-country individual champion, and was part of Colonie's state cross-country team champion in 1999. She was recruited by several colleges, and last month she accepted a scholarship offer from Providence College, where she planned to compete in cross country and track. 

"She's a great student, and she typifies what you'd like all high school kids to be,'' Colonie athletic director Dave Foust said Tuesday. "She's bright in the classroom and she's an exceptional athlete, but above all that, she's an exceptional person who never sees herself as someone bigger than the program.'' 

Foust said the school's crisis management team is being activated, and is available to meet with students should they desire counseling. 

The Colonie girls' indoor track-and-field team, of which Twarog is an integral member, is scheduled to compete in meets at Hudson Valley Community College today and Friday, and at Brown University on Saturday. Foust said he met with Myers on Tuesday, but no decision was made about participating in those competitions. "The team will meet (today),'' Foust said. "Whatever the kids want to do, then that's what we'll do.'' Myers said he hasn't been in this position before as a coach, so he isn't sure what to do regarding the upcoming meets. "The kids won't be forced to do anything that they don't want to do,'' Myers said. "I don't think it helps anybody to start canceling things. It might be better therapy for them.''

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