New York

Vicious Nor'easter Blamed for 2 Deaths in NY, NJ; Dozen Others Hurt

About a dozen other people suffered various weather-related injuries, including a teacher who was hit by lightning

What to Know

  • The complex storm that tore across the region Wednesday left hundreds of thousands in the dark and some buried under 2 feet of snow
  • An 88-year-old woman was killed by a falling tree; an unidentified driver in New Jersey died when a live, downed power line ignited the car
  • Wednesday's storm was the second nor'easter to wallop the tri-state in less than a week; many communities were still recovering from the 1st

The vicious nor'easter that tore down power lines, crippled East Coast travel and buried some under more than two feet of snow is now also a deadly storm.

Authorities confirmed two storm-related fatalities on Thursday: an 88-year-old New York woman crushed by a tree and an unidentified New Jersey driver whose vehicle went up in flames after he drove around a barricade and onto a live wire in the road.

Power outages, downed trees and power lines and now at least two deaths have been blamed on the region's second nor'easter. Ray Villeda reports.

The death of Barbara Soleski, of Rockland County's Suffern, marked the first local fatality from Wednesday's nor'easter. Cops responding to a 911 call on Hillside Avenue around 5 p.m. found Soleski pinned under a large tree outside her home. Two pedestrians were trying to help her.

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The tree had knocked down live electrical lines, which came down on the ground around the woman and first responders. 

After crews pulled Soleski out, another tree fell, nearly clipping emergency workers with additional live wires.

"She was next to the wires, we were next to them," Suffern Police Chief Clarke Osborn said. "While we were there, wires were popping, coming down next to us." 

Police say Soleski was brought to a hospital in critical condition but later died; she had suffered a severe head injury. 

Neighbors said even though she was 88, she was independent and very active. She had been trying to shovel her driveway during the height of the storm when the tree came crashing down. 

Soleski's neighbor Eileen Mack was in disbelief, saying she'd known her for more than 50 years. "Just to lose a great, great friend," she said.

The second death came Thursday morning around 9 a.m. Authorities responding to a 911 call on Summit Avenue in Franklin Lakes, which saw 2 feet of snow fall Wednesday, found a vehicle fully engulfed in fire, a live power line in the road nearby, near the intersection of Route 208.

The lone occupant of the car was found next to the vehicle and pronounced dead at the scene The driver, a man, has not yet been identified. Authorities believe he ignored a roadblock and came in contact with a downed wire, which was found near his body.

Fourth Nor'easter in Three Weeks Rolls Into Tri-State, Once Again Buries Region and Knocks Out Power

About a dozen other people suffered various storm-related injuries across the tri-state area Wednesday. A teacher was struck by lightning while holding an umbrella on bus duty outside a school in Manchester Township, New Jersey. The woman felt a tingling sensation but didn't lose consciousness. She was taken to a hospital with minor injuries.

A 19-year-old Rider University student was hit by a snow plow near the campus residence halls in Lawrenceville. She remained hospitalized Thursday, but the school said administration members and family had visited her and she was reported to be in good spirits.

In Westport, Connecticut, a person was taken to the hospital after being hit by a falling tree branch. And in North White Plains, New York, 10 people were taken to hospitals with symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning after running a generator inside a home. All 10 are expected to survive. 

The complex storm that tore across the region Wednesday left hundreds of thousands of people in the dark and buried some under two feet of snow. It was the second nor'easter to wallop the tri-state in less than a week; many communities were still recovering from the first, which also knocked out power to hundreds of thousands of customers. 

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