Twins killed in head-on collision while out Christmas shopping

The last thing Ronald Porter remembers of driving his wife and her twin sister to do some Christmas shopping Monday morning is his wife screaming his name.

Porter, 70, of Fulton, New York, awoke in the median of Route 481 in Schroeppel, Syracuse.com reported. When he came to, both Louise Porter and Linda Robillard were dead.

Killed along with the 69-year-old twins was 68-year-old Bruce Drury, of Syracuse, who New York State Police investigators said was driving north in the southbound lanes of the highway.

"Onondaga County 911 received reports of a small dark colored sedan traveling northbound on State Route 481 when it crossed over into the center median, across the southbound lanes and into the brush on the west side of the highway," the state police reported in a news release. "Witnesses then reported the vehicle began to back up through the brush and began to drive north in the southbound lanes."

A state trooper attempted to stop Drury’s vehicle, but he drove around the patrol car and continued driving the wrong way, the agency reported. A short time later, his 2004 Toyota Carolla struck Porter’s Dodge Avenger head-on.

The Carolla spun into the path of a minivan before coming to a stop. Porter, Robillard and Drury were all pronounced dead at the scene, according to the news release.

Ronald Porter suffered internal injuries and was taken to Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse, where he was listed in stable condition later in the day. The driver of the minivan was treated at the scene and released, troopers said.

Explore>> Read more trending stories

It was not immediately clear why Drury was driving the wrong way, but Syracuse.com reported that investigators were looking into a series of 911 calls in which dozens of motorists reported seeing at least part of what happened. Some reported seeing Drury get into a minor crash before leaving that scene and driving the wrong way in traffic.

He drove the wrong way for almost seven miles before the crash occurred, the news agency reported.

Brad Bangson, of West Monroe, said he was driving south when he saw Drury’s car coming toward him.

"As he got closer and closer, I drove at the guy to get his attention," Bangson told Syracuse.com. "I just wanted to get his attention. It didn't work. It didn't irritate him. It didn't phase him. He didn't change speed. It was like I wasn't there."

The news agency spoke to Louise Porter’s son, John Wallace, who said that his stepfather was attempting to pass a slower vehicle in the southbound lanes when Drury slammed into the couple’s vehicle.

"He never saw what was coming in front of him," Wallace said Monday night.

Wallace said that his stepfather cried as he talked in the hospital about the crash that killed his wife and sister-in-law. Family members are struggling to understand what happened.

"I'm sick to my stomach," Wallace told Syracuse.com. "I'm hurt. I'm angry. I can't even make sense out of it."

Linda Robillard’s daughter, Pam Chrisman, recalled getting the news from Wallace, her cousin. She learned of her mother’s death as she and her husband drove home from the Department of Veterans Affairs hospital in Syracuse, where her father is undergoing cancer treatment.

“I cried hysterically,” Chrisman said. “I couldn’t believe it.”

Bangston also said he’s felt sick about the crash since it happened.

"I'm sick about the fact that I didn't turn around and chase him," he said about Drury. "But I couldn't have done any more than the police. There wasn't much I could do. I'm still very much bothered by it."