Two Genesee County men died in a six-vehicle Thruway accident Monday afternoon, east of Rochester, State Police said today.
The deaths occurred in the initial collision, which occurred at about 4:30 p.m. near Mendon.
A westbound pickup truck was hit by an eastbound commercial vehicle, hauling a construction dumpster, that had crossed the center median and hit the pickup head-on, troopers said.
Killed were Michael F. Pehrson, 51, of Batavia, and Christopher M. Rheinheimer, 25, of Darien. Troopers said they were pronounced dead at the scene.
The commercial vehicle’s driver, Roger L. Labar, 51, of Prattsburgh, was taken to Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester with non-life-threatening injuries, troopers said.
Seconds after the first collision, a westbound tractor-trailer hauling produce hit a damaged guide rail, troopers said. The rail punctured the rig’s fuel tank, causing it to become fully engulfed in flames.
That driver, a 49-year-old man from Scarborough, Ont., was able to escape uninjured, troopers said.
A fourth vehicle, traveling behind the tractor-trailer, hit debris in the road and spun around. It then was hit head-on by a fifth vehicle, troopers said.
The driver of the fourth vehicle, a 70-year-old man from Canandaigua, was taken to Strong Memorial Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, troopers said. The fifth driver wasn’t injured.
A sixth westbound vehicle was damaged when it hit debris, but no other injuries were reported, troopers said.
No charges have been filed against the commercial vehicle driver, troopers said.
An investigation continues by the State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation and Collision Reconstruction Units.
Representatives from the state Departments of Environmental Conservation and Agriculture and Markets responded to help deal with the fuel fire and the perishable cargo of the tractor-trailer. Westbound traffic was diverted off the Thruway at Exit 45/Victor during the course of the investigation and cleanup.