It was nearly 7 o’clock last Tuesday morning as an off-duty New York City police officer headed to work on the New York State Thruway. Before he arrived, he made a decision that has investigators puzzled: while driving north, he made a U-turn across the northbound lanes and apparently on to the northbound median.
Unfortunately, he was facing south as he re-entered the northbound traffic. His southbound pick-up truck slammed head-on into a Honda driven northbound by an Airmont man. Both died in the violent wrong-way car crash.
A state police spokesperson said a witness saw the off-duty officer’s truck going north before it made the U-turn. “The vehicle faced south on the shoulder of the northbound lane,” the spokesperson said. “It’s not something that is very common.”
The other man killed worked at Mount St. Mary College as a chef.
The Thruway Authority’s executive director said the section of “the Thruway is clearly marked.”
However, USA Today noted that the double-fatality crash was the third wrong-way incident in just the last month. It also recalled that five years ago, an intoxicated wrong-way driver on the Taconic State Parkway in Mount Pleasant killed eight people, including four children, when her minivan crashed head-on into another vehicle.
Though wrong-way highway crashes are rare, they’re often deadly because the collisions are often head-on and at high speeds.
People injured in wrong-way accidents, as well as those who lose loved ones in such a crash, should discuss their cases with an experienced personal injury and wrongful death attorney.
Source: USA Today, “Witnesses: Driver made U-turn before fatal N.Y. crash,” Hoa Nguyen and Theresa Juva-Brown, August 13, 2014