Driver in collision with cyclist may have been blinded by the sun

GIANNA VOLPE PHOTO | Southold Fire Department emergency responders load an accident victim into the police medivac helicopter Friday afternoon.

The driver of the van who struck a bicyclist on the North Road in Southold late Friday afternoon may have had his vision impaired by the glare of the low sun, said Southold Police.

The cyclist, Joe Pufahl Jr., 64, of Cutchogue, was airlifted to Stony Brook with a broken arm, concussion and unspecified leg injuries, according to his brother, John Pufahl. Mr. Pufahl, who recently underwent heart surgery, is expected to remain in the hospital until the middle of next week.

Police said the accident occurred as Mr. Pufahl was riding eastbound on Route 48. Rob Hamilton of Southold was driving west and when turning left onto Youngs avenue collided with Mr. Pufahl. Both had the green light and no traffic citations were issued, said Detective Ned Grathwohl.

Police initially thought a second vehicle might have been involved, but that driver was a witness who stopped after the accident.

Det. Grathwohl added that Mr. Pufahl may have avoided more serious injuries by wearing a cycling helmet.