FedEx driver uninjured after van goes off road in Leyden

This FedEx van was precariously close to ending up in the brook off Keets Brook Road in Leyden after going off the road on Monday.

This FedEx van was precariously close to ending up in the brook off Keets Brook Road in Leyden after going off the road on Monday. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

This FedEx van was precariously close to ending up in the brook off Keets Brook Road in Leyden after going off the road on Monday.

This FedEx van was precariously close to ending up in the brook off Keets Brook Road in Leyden after going off the road on Monday. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

By MARY BYRNE

Staff Writer

Published: 09-12-2023 6:49 PM

LEYDEN — Were it not for an aptly positioned maple tree and the quick thinking of passersby and a neighbor, the outcome of a van going over an embankment on Keets Brook Road on Tuesday “could have been fatal,” according to public safety officials.

Bernardston Police Officer Thomas Chabot was the first to respond Tuesday afternoon to a report of a FedEx van that had gone off the road and into a brook along Keets Brook Road. When he arrived, the driver was out of the vehicle and walking around. The van, however, remained on the edge of the bank, supported by a small maple tree that kept it from falling into the brook.

“If that tree wasn’t there, this easily could have been fatal,” Chabot said.

According to Chabot, the FedEx driver wasn’t on his usual route.

“It was his first time on the road and he lost control of the vehicle,” he said.

Chabot said two men from The Fire Place in Whately happened to be driving by to deliver wood pellets to Selectboard member Erica Jensen at her home near the intersection of Keets Brook Road and Simon Keets Road. When they arrived at her residence, they asked Jensen to call 911. Then, all three went down the road to help the man get out of the van.

Jensen, who is also Leyden’s co-emergency management director, said while she held open the door to the van, the two men from The Fire Place lifted the driver out of the vehicle. Within seven minutes, she said, emergency personnel from Bernardston, Northfield and Colrain arrived. Byrne Towing was also called from Greenfield.

“I’m an ex-firefighter, so this is sort of normal,” Jensen said. “It was a little bit of excitement. Everyone was great. I loved that they really worked together and the driver is OK.”

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Reporter Mary Byrne can be reached at mbyrne@recorder.com or 413-930-4429. Twitter: @MaryEByrne.