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Cement Truck Crashes Into Bronx Building; Driver Killed

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A cement truck crashed into a three-story residential building in the Bronx on Monday evening, leaving the driver dead and at least four people with injuries, authorities said.

As CBS 2’s Lou Young reported, the crash occurred at 6:21 p.m. at the three-story building at 1970 Cedar Ave. in University Heights, fire officials said.

The driver of the truck was killed in the accident, officials told CBS 2.

“It sounded like a bomb,” one woman said at the scene.

Two others were taken to Bronx-Lebanon Hospital in serious, but stable, condition, officials said. They were also inside the truck, officials told 1010 WINS.

At least two others — including a firefighter — suffered minor injuries, FDNY officials told WCBS 880.

A source told 1010 WINS the truck struck two cars after leaving the Major Deegan Expressway. The other injured people besides the firefighter were in the cars, sources said.

The highway and side street were littered with smashed cars after the accident. Some were pushed aside by the runaway truck on the highway, while others were crushed on the side street where they were parked.

The northbound Deegan turns left along the East River at the site. The 80,000 pound cement pumper used for high-rise construction kept going straight at the road turned. Cedar Avenue is a service road for the expressway.

As WCBS 880’s Jim Smith reported, Louis Verdejo saw it all happen.

“The truck came speeding off the highway. He came over the grass and he was going straight into the building,” Verdejo said.

Verdejo said the driver was honking his horn as the truck barreled out of control onto Cedar Avenue.

“He went straight into the building, and then I heard the boom,” Verdejo said.

Verdejo said the driver barely missed him as he stood near the sidewalk.

“I didn’t know what to think. It happened so fast. I mean, I looked. I saw him pass and boom! He just smashed into the building,” he said.

The cab of the truck turned as it hit the structural wall and went into the ground-floor garage of the building, Young reported. The façade of the building fell on the truck.

There were three people at home at the time of the accident – a woman and two boys. The woman’s sister told Young they were all physically uninjured, but really shaken up.

“They’re crying. They’re shocked. They can’t really say much. My sister’s saying, like, a truck ran into her house, truck ran into her house. My nephews are in shock because they were in the living room playing. Everyone was in the living room when it happened. They’re physically OK. They ran to the back room, and she called 911 the minute it happened and told them that they were in the back room stuck,” the woman’s sister said.

It was believed the driver suffered a heart attack behind the wheel, Young reported.

As of 9 p.m. a tow truck was in position to pull the truck out of the house. The driver’s body remained inside the truck.

Parts of the damaged building crumbled to the ground as crews worked to remove the truck. A crowd gasped as chunks of the building fell.

Homes on both sides of the damaged building were evacuated.

Residents said the off-ramp from the Deegan near the scene is dangerous, and accidents are frequent. But they said this was the worst.

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