Freak Accident Involving Tractor-Trailer On I-95 Leaves 62-Year-Old Woman Dead

PORT CHESTER, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — An accident Tuesday afternoon on I-95 left one woman dead and her passenger injured.

Police said a tractor-trailer heading southbound on I-95 was about to exit right onto a ramp for I-287.  However, before it did, the truck lost a tire, which flew over the median and hit a car  driven 62-year-old Adele Mancuso of Toms River, N.J.  Mancuso was killed.

Mancuso’s passenger and mother, 84-year-old Constance Casalina of Larchmont, N.Y., is expected to recover from her injuries.

State police did find the truck, which didn’t stop at the scene of the accident, parked in Hamilton, N.J.  Authorities told CBS 2’s Derricke Dennis that they know who the driver is and will interview him whenever he turns himself in.  He could face felony charges if it is determined that he knowingly fled the scene.

The impact of the tire caused a smashed windshield and made the roof of the car cave in.

“The vehicle kept going. It’s unknown at this time if the driver was aware that he lost a rear wheel section because it is an 18-wheel tractor trailer,” New York State Police  Investigator Joseph Becerra said.

With I-95 being one of the most heavily traveled highways in the country and famous for its volume of trucks, it can be a driver’s nightmare.

Robert Sinclair, of AAA, called the accident “a tragedy” and a “catastrophic failure of equipment.”  He believes it was maintenance related.

Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below.

  • erock

    commercial tractor drivers have a better safety record than the general public. the wheels coming off are likely due to mechanical failure or lack of maint. it is possible for items to fatigue and for errors to happen. the fact that the driver was flagged down and then left is the real crime.

  • FED UP!!!!

    How about this… our country bans tractor trailers from being on the same roads as cars since they are ALWAYS the ones killing poor innocent people. They should have their own highways and shouldn’t be allowed where common traffic is. They have no regard for others around them. Half of them are practically asleep or drunk driving those rigs so should not be around people in their small vehicles.

    • truck driver

      A thoughtless and uninformed comment. most people die in ‘car on car’ accidents, not even involving tractor traiilers. Most tractor trailer/car accidents are the result of the car driver’s actions. the incidence of drunk truck drivers, though often reported by the media, is a fraction of the level of drunk car drivers (look it up). Truck drivers are required to undergo random drug and alcohol testing; would YOU pass a test right now? I and others would gladly support separate highways for tractor trailers, but you could never afford the cost.

      Look at the news clip; it shows the wheel ASSEMBLY, which clearly came off due to failed bearings. I guess truckers are exempt from ‘presumption of innocence.’.

  • I-95 Person

    I wish the police were given tickets and taking the licenses away, then people would respect the speed limits
    I had a wheel coming at us by Exit 3. (the wheel came of an SUV going southbound, were were northbound,

    I am counting my blessings, but again if it did not speed it would not have crashed and lost a wheel

  • Pete

    Truck drivers need to be the best drivers on the road. With 40 tons riding on 18 wheels, there is never any room for driver error. Unfortunately too many drivers are careless or tired.

  • Mike

    I’ve been in the transportation universe for over 35 years, so here is my take on this horrific yet avoidable tragedy. Most tractor-trailer drivers get paid by the mile or the “run.” So, the quicker they get to their destination the quicker they can pick up another run and thus more $$ for them, (GREED.) To acquire a CDL license you need to pass a written and a road test. Both tests require the operator to pre-trip and post-trip their trailer. It takes about 10-15 minutes to check/inspect the trailer before and after their run. Of course checking the lug nuts and studs on the trailer is a major focus of the inspection. Most tractor drivers, at most, check to see if a tire is low on air pressure with usually the tool to release the fifth wheel (that is the part of the tractor that joins and locks to the trailer or connects two or more trailers together with a piece of equipment called the dolly.) The tool has a hook on one end and a dual hammer head on the other, the driver uses this tool to release the fifth wheel and to bang on all the trailer tires to listen if they my be low on air. Experienced drivers can be very accurate with this tool. Whether they check the tires is a toss up, remember they get paid by the mile, time is money. If they got paid by the hour, I bet you all I have that they would take the time to pre-trip and post-trip their trailers carefully. Next, wheel manufacturers have had devices that easily show that a lug nut or stud is loose. They look like a tear drop (round at the large end and narrows to a point at the other.) These devices go on before the lug nut goes on and is torqued to spec., which is usually 450-500 foot pounds. When they are all torqued correctly they all point in the same direction. If a lug nut is loose, it points in a different direction then the rest. They should all be facing as far as they can go on either side of the trailer. Most trailers have opposite threads on either side of the trailer to lessen the chances of them loosening up. Why doesn’t the DOT or the NHTSA make these or other similar devices mandatory on all trailer and tractor wheels, I don’t know maybe because of the $$ it cost the trucking companies, (GREED.) We are starting to see more and more new trailers and tractors come equipped with tire low air warning devices and also devices that automatically adjust tire pressures by themselves..those cost more of course! (GREED.) Who’s to blame? Everyone but the poor driver of the car, that’s who to blame! When will this change, maybe when someone important dies from the same incident. I forgot to mention that rust stains around a lug nut indicates that the lug nut or stud is loose also. These lug nuts and studs should be re-torqued and the wheel should be painted so the next driver of that trailer or tractor doesn’t see the rust stain and have the lugs and studs tightened unnecessarily again. Doing that repeatedly will weaken the studs and they will eventually fail. I’ve seen it and witnessed it too many times.

    God bless Adele and may perpetual light shine upon her and may God speed up the full recovery of the others that were injured.


  • Truth & Beauty

    Let’s find out the facts before we pass judgment. If it was a maintenance issue and the driver was unaware of the tire coming off, it is certainly not his fault.

    My condolences to the family for their loss.

  • kc

    I drive this route every day. The section of road heading Southbound just before the exit to 287, is full of pot holes and the lanes are very narrow right there as there is construction going on. I get off at that exit every day and each time I have to really try hard to control the car – the bumps are so bad and there is no shoulder in the right lane which you need to be in to exit. According to this report the truck was on the 287 overpass, but the other reports I’ve read and the news stories I’ve seen since say the truck was going southbound and exiting to 287. They say they believe it was mechanical, but I’d bet you dollars to donuts it also had something to do with the condition of the road. My thoughts and prayers are with the family of the woman whose life was taken so tragically.

  • Biggie hater

    I hope this dirtbag monkey gets life!

  • I-95 Person

    I drive there all the time. Almost all trucks are going over the speed limit, and then they would pass you , even in a pouring rain.

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