Pownal man, 21, killed in Rt. 7 crash

POWNAL — A 21-year-old Pownal man who was killed in a two-car collision Thursday morning on Route 7 was described by family and co-workers as a dedicated volunteer firefighter who had visions of pursuing a career in business.

Robert G. Dross died when his 2002 Volkswagen Jetta collided with a 2013 Subaru Outback, according to Vermont State Police. Dross was declared dead at the scene.

The driver of the Subaru, Gregory E. Brown, 33, of Danby, suffered minor injuries and was transported to at Albany Medical Center for observation, State Police said.

The accident occurred at 6:35 a.m., near the intersection of Route 7 and Peaks Pine Road. That section of the highway was closed for about 2 1/2 hours, and traffic was diverted, State Police said.

According to their preliminary investigation, Dross was driving north on Route 7 when his car crossed the center line into the southbound lane, where it collided with Brown's car, State Police said. Speed was considered a contributing factor, although no conclusions have been reached. The road was wet and snow-covered.

Dross was headed to his job in the maintenance department of Carbone Ford/Hyundai of Bennington when the accident occurred, according to his mother, Angela Walsh.

"He loved working at Carbone's," she told the Banner. "This was his first job, so he did a little bit of everything."

Dross had been pursuing a business degree at Southern Vermont College when he landed the job at Carbone's, she said. "He gave up college to pursue whatever future they had for him there."

Walsh said Dross' aptitude for business showed while he was a student at the Southwest Vermont Career Development Center, and took home a prize in the statewide DECA competition in Burlington.

"He had a lot of friends," she said. "He was a really good kid."

"He was a very good guy," said Jason Olansky, chief of the Pownal Valley Fire Department, where Dross had served as a volunteer firefighter. Dross had completed his Firefighter I certification early in 2017, and was one of the most active members of the 19-member department, Olansky said.

Olansky said Dross joined the department because "it was his way of getting involved with the community."

He recalled Dross as being "humorous, kind of a jokester. He got along really well with everybody. He was a nice young man."

Tim Wheelock, service manager at Carbone, had hired Dross several months ago. "He worked hard, he was always here on time, he was conscientious about his work," Wheelock said. "He was a good kid. I have nothing but positive things to say about him."

State Police were assisted on the scene by Pownal Town Fire Department, Bennington Fire Department, Bennington Rescue Squad, and Bennington County Sheriff's Department.

Derek Carson contributed to this story

David LaChance can be reached at dlachance@benningtonbanner.com and 802-447-7567, ext. 115.


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