Retired TV Newsman Dead in Amagansett Car Wreck

Richard D. Threlkeld, a retired network television news reporter, died Friday morning in Amagansett when his Mini Cooper struck a Peterbilt truck hauling propane.

East Hampton Town police said Mr. Threlkeld, 74, had been driving in a northerly direction on Cross Highway when his car hit the truck driven by Earl Fryberger Jr. of Coatsville, Pa., in the Montauk Highway intersection. Mr. Fryberger, 57, was not hurt.

Mr. Threlkeld was pulled from the Mini Cooper and taken to Southampton Hospital by Amagansett Fire Department ambulance. He was declared dead by emergency room personnel.

Suffolk police remained on the scene for several hours. The Mini Cooper ended up on the grass in front of the American Legion building. Police did not say what caused the collision, and both vehicles were to undergo safety checks. Police have asked anyone who witnessed the accident to call them at 537-7575.

Mr. Threlkeld was a 25-year veteran of CBS News, its New York affiliate reported today, though he interrupted his tenure there with a stint at ABC News in the 1980s.

During his news career, he covered the Vietnam War, the Persian Gulf War, and the Tiananmen Square protests. His last assignment for CBS News was as Moscow correspondent. His wife, Betsy Aaron, was CNN's Moscow correspondent at the time.

Lesley Stahl, with whom Mr. Threlkeld anchored the CBS Morning News from 1977 to 1979, issued a statement Friday, calling Mr. Threlkeld "one of the best reporters, someone CBS sent to troubled spots to cover the big stories of the day. Richard was known for his integrity and his decency."

According to an online property listing service, Mr. Threlkeld had a house on Robins Way in Barnes Landing, East Hampton, not far from the site of the accident.