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Turners man killed in crash

2-car collision in Greenfield Saturday

GREENFIELD — A head-on collision at the intersection of Deerfield and Cheapside streets claimed the life of a Turners Falls man Saturday morning.

Detective Lt. Daniel McCarthy of the Greenfield Police Department said Gregory S. Ellis, 31, of 85 Fifth St., Turners Falls, was pronounced dead at Baystate Franklin Medical Center following the accident, reported at 1:20 a.m. The Northwestern District Attorney’s Office is investigating, but identifies Ellis as a resident of 175 Avenue A.

“Road conditions were factored in, it was at that point when the mist had just started and the roads were starting to ice up, so that was one of the contributing factors,” McCarthy said.

Rainwater over packed snow and what became dense fog made roadways treacherous around the county Saturday.

Ellis was driving south on Deerfield Street and appeared from tracks in the snow to have taken a sharp left onto Cheapside Street, crossing over a snowbank at the tip of the triangular median and into the path of an on-coming van, McCarthy said.

Ellis’ sedan collided head-on with a 15-passenger van traveling in the opposite direction, off Cheapside, driven by Cammy Thurber of Myrtle Street , Greenfield, McCarthy said. Both Thurber and a passenger in the van were unhurt.

McCarthy said the accident is under investigation and police are waiting on word from the chief medical examiner’s office as to whether there may have been any medical or other causes.

“Nobody deserves this, but nobody deserves this less than him,” Timothy Gochinski said Sunday. Gochinski, 30, of Sunderland, said he and Ellis were close friends for a decade, and called Ellis a hero, remembering how hard he worked recently to win custody of his son and how he behaved in an earlier tragedy.

Gochinski has set up a fundraiser on crowd-sourcing website GoFundMe.com for his family and young son at www.gofundme.com/66o4ow. On Sunday, contributions from more than a hundred people had already pushed the fund halfway to the $10,000 goal.

In talking about Ellis, Gochinski said their circle of friends lost two members in 1998 when 14-year-olds Winter Clark and Christopher Gallagher drowned in the Connecticut River in 1998.

“We were all together for that and Greg was the glue that kind of held us together and reminded us what friendship is,” Gochinski said. Ellis was one of the teenagers who pushed for the one-time Turners Falls skate park to be built and named in honor of the two, Gochinski said.

You can reach Chris Curtis at: ccurtis@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 257

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