(Photo : AP YouTube (Screenshot))
A 68-year-old woman was killed on Wednesday after a tractor-trailer traveling eastbound on the Long Island Expressway caused a 35-vehicle pileup, closing down the expressway for over 15 hours and leaving another 33 people injured. The major chain-reaction crashed occurred in Yaphank, near exit 68, and left several vehicles damaged by fire, Newsday reported.
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The woman, identified as Christa Zepf of Blue Point, was driving a Toyota Camry and was killed at the scene, The Associated Press reported. The 33 injured, two of which were in critical condition, were taken to three local hospitals. According to the AP, police have identified one of the critical patients as 57-year-old Robert Murphy of Lloyd Harbor, who was receiving care at Brookhaven Memorial Hospital for a head injury.
While the cause of the accident is unknown, police believe that the truck hit a number of vehicles while traveling eastbound on the expressway. AP reported that no charges have been filed against the tractor-trailer driver, 42-year-old Raymond Simoneau, of Rickingham, Vt.
Several vehicles involved in the accident were damaged, with some catching on fire. According to the AP, the first car to be hit by the tractor-trailer was burned beyond recognition.
Suffolk County Police Deputy Kevin Fallon said the accident happened around 2:40 p.m. EST on Wednesday. Chief John Mirando of the Ridge Fire Department told reporters that some victims of the accident had been stuck and their cars and had to be rescued.
"Anybody rolling up on this scene you would think there would be definitely more than just one fatality," Mirando said. "It's just lucky that it's only one, but it could have been a lot worse."
Police continue to investigate the sequence of events that led to the accident.