Personal Injury

Unsafe motorist sends gas tanker careening off New York highway

New York State Police say that an aggressive driver was the reason a gasoline tanker truck ran off the highway onto an embankment in Colonie, New York, Wednesday morning, illustrating perfectly how some motorists are completely ignorant about sharing the road with other vehicles, especially commercial trucks that are several times larger and heavier than passenger cars.

The tanker truck owned by AR Sandri, Inc. of Greenfield, Mass, was traveling eastbound on Alternate Route 7 when the drivers of two vehicles, apparently engaged in an altercation and gesturing to each other, passed the truck in the passing lane. The driver of the first car sped past the tractor trailer and entered the right lane in front of the truck, then stepped on the brakes as traffic in front of him slowed.

At this time, the other car attempted to squeeze into the right lane between the truck and the first car as the altercations continued. The tractor trailer then struck the bumper of the second car, causing it to spin out on the highway in front of the truck. To avoid a worse collision, the truck’s driver, Lynn Sbrega of Troy, New York, veered off the highway and onto the embankment. Sbrega was able to prevent the truck from rolling and came to a controlled stop with some of the trucks wheels protruding more than a foot off the ground. Amazingly, nobody was injured in the crash.

A routine inspection of the truck following the accident found the vehicle to be free of mechanical problems. The driver of the car that hit the truck was merely ticketed for unsafely changing lanes.

Coincidentally, the crash occurred when a special law enforcement program was taking place nearby called an “Aggressive and Distracted Driving Enforcement Detail.”

In New York State, 87 percent of all crashes involving a truck in 2009 also involved another vehicle, bicyclist, or pedestrian. In 85 percent of those crashes, the “other vehicle” was listed as the cause of the crash.