NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — One person died this morning in a crash involving two tractor trailers and a car that closed a section of I-95 in New Haven, state police said. A second person was taken to the hospital.
Police identified the woman who died as Gewndolyn Buskey, 53, of Orchard St. in New Haven. Her passenger was Vera Mercer, 41, also of Orchard St. in New Haven
The crash happened in the southbound lanes between Exits 46-45 around 5:15 a.m. That’s along Sargent Drive in the Long Wharf area and in the construction zone. Construction work was in the process of wrapping up.
“I was driving down southbound 95 when I noticed some brake lights and a big cloud of debris,” Paul Adamczyk of Hamden said.
The debris was from Shop Rite tractor trailer smashing into the back of a car, pushing it into the back of another tractor trailer. Paul sent a picture to Report It. You can see that car is crushed under the trailer in front of it.
“Pieces of the vehicle that should be horizontal were vertical,” Adamczyk said. “You couldn’t tell where the front could have been, where the rear should have ended. Everything was just pushed in like an accordion.”
Paul could see a woman inside the car. He did his best to get to her, but couldn’t. It took firefighters more than an hour to get her out and into an ambulance. What Paul didn’t know is there was a passenger in that car.
“Extrication was required and one person was pronounced dead at the scene,” state police spokesman Lt. J. Paul Vance said in a statement. “A second person was extricated and transported to Yale New Haven Hospital with serious injury.”
That passenger died. The police investigation shut down I-95 south for more than five hours. That meant big backups all morning on all the highways and even city streets as drivers looked for a way around the shutdown.
“I took a detour,” Maggie Palmieri said, which worked out much better for her. “I’d still be on the Q-Bridge.”
The crash added about a half-hour to Jack Keyes’ commute. “Had to drive all the way around. I just hope the person’s all right. That’s the most important thing,” he said. “A little inconvenience is nothing next to that.”
Neither truck driver was injured.
Traffic was diverted off the highway at Exit 46 and right back onto the highway. The accident scene was cleared around 11 a.m.