One injured in serious collision

Crash occurred on Rt. 517 near Sparta Middle School


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  • photos provided by the sparta police department Members of the Sparta Township Fire Department and Sparta First Aid Squad extricate 23-year-old Anthony L. Barbato from his heavily damaged vehicle and move him to a waiting ambulance. Barbato was seriously injured as result of the accident Aug. 14, on Rte. 517 in Sparta.




  • Investigating Officer Arlene Lippencott discusses the crash with the department’s Certified Crash Reconstructionist Cpl. Brian Hassloch.




  • Anthony Brarbato, who was seriously injured after the vehicle he was operating struck a tandem dump truck, is loaded into a helicopter at the Sparta Middle School so he can be flown to Morristown Medical Center for treatment.




— A Morris County man was seriously injured last week after he was involved in a DWI-related vehicle collision on Rt. 517 near Sparta Middle School, according to police.

Around 1:44 p.m. Aug. 14, 23-year-old Anthony L. Barabato, of Netcong, was operating a 2010 Cadillac DTS erratically before it collided with a dump truck, according to the Sparta Police Department.

According to the initial investigation, Barabato was traveling south on Rte. 517 entering into Sparta from Ogdensburg. As the vehicle passed Sparta Middle School it crossed the double yellow lines and entered into the northbound lane.

The dump truck, being operated by 58-year-old Edward Gratcofsky, of Dingmans Ferry, was traveling north.

According to police, Gratcofsky took evasive action to avoid a head-on collision. The Cadillac struck the truck on the left side of the it’s bumper, pushing and bending the front wheels of the truck back, then striking and rupturing a 50 gallon fuel tank located below the driver’s side door. The dump truck was forced off the roadway where it came to rest disabled.

Gratcofsky was uninjured.
Police are continuing to investigate the incident.

The Cadillac sustained heavy front end damage. The vehicle bounced off the truck where it came to rest facing west in the southbound lane, according to police.

Barbato was entrapped in the car with his legs pinned under the front end damage.

The Sparta Fire Department was able to extricate Brabato and he was transported by the Sparta First Aid Squad and Paramedics from St. Claire’s in Sussex to the upper soccer field of the Sparta Middle School where he was airlifted to Morristown Medical Center.

Officers seized one consumed half-liter bottle of vodka, three consumed bottles and one partially consumed bottle of Stella Artois Hard Apple Cider from inside the Cadillac.

Barbato has been charged with driving while intoxicated in a school zone, consumption and possession of open containers of alcohol in a motor vehicle, reckless driving, failure to keep right and talking on a cellular phone while operating a motor vehicle.

Additional charges are pending, police said.

A court date has not yet been set.




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