TARRYTOWN, N.Y. (AP) — A wrong-way driver on the Tappan Zee Bridge slammed into an oncoming vehicle, killing a passenger and sparking a five-car pileup that closed the northbound lanes of the state Thruway for hours, New York state police said Wednesday.
Idled motorists on the bridge got out of their cars and watched as workers treated the injured and police investigated the scene under floodlights.
Several people, including the wrong-way driver, were injured in the Tuesday night crash and taken to hospitals, police said. There were no immediate arrests as the investigation continued.
State police said they had received a report of a driver going south on the northbound lanes of the bridge at 8:51 p.m., just seconds before they heard about the crash.
The wrong-way driver was identified as Michael Schechel, 69, of Thiells. His white Ford SUV crashed head-on into a Nissan in which Hannah Ayeh-Brachie, 56, of Hillcrest, was a passenger.
The Nissan rolled over several times and landed on its roof in the middle lane, police said.
Ayeh-Brachie was pronounced dead at the scene, they said.
State police spokesman Sgt. John Antonelli said Schechel suffered a head injury and police would talk to him after he was treated.
He said police did not yet know exactly where Schechel got on the highway or why he was in the wrong lanes.
A passenger in Schechel's car and the driver of the Nissan were among the injured.
A third car hit the Nissan and two other vehicles crashed into the pileup, police said.
Two lanes on the southbound side of the bridge were also closed at times during the investigation but the bridge was completely open for the Wednesday morning rush.