N.Y. FF responds to fatal crash that killed volunteer FF wife, FF widow

Jackie Henry was traveling with four passengers in the SUV, including her daughter and the widow of a Richville volunteer firefighter who was preparing to bury her husband

Rylee Kirk

FOWLER, N.Y. — A North Country community is reeling from a horrific crash this weekend that killed three people — including a woman who was hours away from burying her husband who died unexpectedly young of a brain tumor.

A volunteer firefighter — worried about his wife and daughter — found the SUV crashed off the curvy road, upside in a stream. His wife was dead; his daughter was alive.

“It’s pretty tough,” Richville Fire Chief Corie Farr said.
“It’s pretty tough,” Richville Fire Chief Corie Farr said. (Photo/Richville Fire Department)

The man’s wife was also a volunteer firefighter who, like her husband, worked alongside the firefighters who responded to the crash. Hours later they were planning to be at the funeral for a fellow volunteer, the man who died of the brain tumor.

The three people who died either drowned or died of injuries from the crash, a fire chief said.

The compact SUV crashed sometime before 4:40 a.m. Saturday in the town of Fowler, a rural St. Lawrence County community just south of Gouverneur that’s home to only about 2,000 people.

“It’s pretty tough,” Richville Fire Chief Corie Farr said Monday.

Early Saturday morning, Desiree Lowery, family members, and a friend were riding in the SUV on Chub Lake Road, according to State Police. The vehicle spun out, hit a guard rail, and landed upside down in the stream, troopers said.

James Henry — expecting his wife Jackie Henry and 13-year-old daughter Joy, to be home — called his wife’s cellphone but it went to voicemail, as did everyone else’s, Farr said.

James Henry, who volunteers with the Richville Fire Department, went looking for the car, the chief said.

At 4:40 a.m., 911 was called and the Richville firefighters rushed to the scene. On their way there they were informed one of their own, Jackie Henry, was inside.

All five people were trapped in the crashed vehicle and had to be extricated.

Jackie Henry, 34, of Richville, who was driving, and Lorraine Stevens, 25, of Hermon, were taken to Gouverneur Hospital where they died, troopers said.

Desiree Lowery, 32, of Potsdam, was pronounced dead at the scene, troopers said.

Mark Hubbard, 33, of Rochester, was transported to Upstate University Hospital. His condition was not available Monday.

Joy Henry, 13, of Richville, was taken to Canton-Potsdam Hospital and released, troopers said.

The fire department was already prepared for a day of mourning for one of their own, Jayson “Jay” Lowery, 29, who had died of the tumor. He was married to Desiree Lowery.

Jay Lowery volunteered for the Oxbow and Richville fire departments and served Gouverneur Volunteer Rescue Squad as an EMT, according to his obituary. He also worked for a solar panel company.

He and Desiree leave behind three children.

The funeral for Jay Lowery went ahead on Saturday.

At 1 p.m. Saturday, the fire department gave Jay Lowery a “firefighter’s funeral,” the chief said.

A “last call” was announced over the 911 dispatch in honor of him. Towers from firetrucks were draped with the American flag and his casket was lead under.

Now family and friends will plan funerals for his wife and the two others killed in the crash.


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McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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