Six people were killed in upstate New York Thursday when a tractor trailer slammed into a line of vehicles that had slowed down for a road-paving project, according to the Associated Press.
James Miller Jr., 45, of Myerstown, N.Y., was driving an 18-wheeler south on Route 11 near Fort Drum, which is roughly 85 miles from Syracuse, AP reported, when he hit an SUV.
Miller was awake, but apparently didn’t notice construction signs warning about the work that was being done on the rural road, according to police. When Miller crashed into the SUV, it caused an accident that involved six cars.
The initial investigation found that Miller did attempt to brake before hitting the SUV. And he had not been texting or on a call at the time of the crash, an inspection of hie cellphone found, AP reported.
Vehicles on Route 11 had slowed down in the area where the road was being repaved. As a result of the crash, five people in the SUV that Miller hit first were killed after the vehicle exploded with flames, according to AP. In addition, a woman who was in another SUV, which flipped over, also died, AP reported.
At the scene, Miller helped rescue a New York State Department of Transportation employee, pulling Lewis Lottie Jr. out of hie car before it burst into flames, according to AP.
Miller underwent toxicology tests and was released. No charges have been filed in the accident.
The victims were: SUV driver Laurie Dana, a speech therapist from Lawrence, N.Y.; her daughters Caitlyn, 14, and Lauryn, 11; mother-in-law Janet Dana, 69; and Shannon Planty, 14, Caitlyn’s friend.
The victim in the other SUV was Maryann Gregory, 59, of Dickinson Center.
Miller’s truck, which was carrying yogurt, is owned by MBM Customized Foodservice Distribution in Rocky Mount, N.C., AP reported.
Attorney Gordon Johnson
Past Chair Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group, American Association of Justice
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