CLIFTON PARK: Fallen firefighter honored

On the grassy median just south of Exit 12 on the Northway is a small bouquet of blue flowers, barely noticeable except that it sits at the end of two tire marks.

Greg Kruger died here on Friday, July 20, just before 5 p.m., when the minivan he was driving southbound veered off of the road, crossed the median, and struck a northbound minivan.

He was 17.

The passengers in the other minivan, a family from Quebec, were treated for minor injuries and released from the hospital later on Friday.

State police said that they believe Kruger was wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident. No early indications of alcohol or drug use were present.

Saratoga County Coroner John DeMartino, who pronounced Kruger dead at the scene, said that toxicology reports could take up to six weeks to come back.

A volunteer firefighter and Clifton Park resident, Kruger was to be a senior next year at Shenendehowa High School. He left behind his parents, Bob and Lori Jeanne, three siblings, and countless grieving friends and family members.

His funeral was held on Tuesday, July 24, at St. Edward the Confessor Church in Clifton Park. The Rev. Pat Butler delivered an emotional homily.

Here is a young person full of life and love and filled with his own goals and dreams that have not yet been fulfilled. That always makes death more painful. Even so, it was the way that he died, an absurd traffic accident, that makes the sadness at times even deeper and perhaps the pain even sharper," Butler said. "There's no time to prepare, no time to strengthen or steel one's heart or spirit, no time to say goodbye."

Kruger had just become a certified first responder, and was hoping to become an emergency medical technician when he turned 18 in November. He also worked at Spare Time Bowl in Clifton Park and the Shaker Ridge Country Club in Colonie.

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