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Driver Charged In Fatal Wrong-Way Tappan Zee Bridge Crash

A fatal crash on the northbound side of the Tappan Zee Bridge. (credit: CBS 2)

A fatal crash on the northbound side of the Tappan Zee Bridge. (credit: CBS 2)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — A wrong-way driver who slammed into an oncoming vehicle on the Tappan Zee Bridge, killing a woman, has been charged with criminal negligent homicide.

Michael Schechel was arraigned in Orangetown Town Court on Thursday and released without bail.

On July 23, 2013, police say Schechel, 69, was driving south in a white sport-utility vehicle in the northbound lanes of the bridge when his vehicle slammed head on into a Nissan that was being driven by Newman Ayeh-Brachie, 57.

The impact of the crash caused the Nissan to roll over multiple times before it landed on its roof in the middle lane, police said.

A passenger of Ayeh-Brachie’s car, 57-year-old Hannah Ayeh-Brachie, was pronounced dead at the scene.

A third car heading north hit Ayeh-Brachie’s car after swerving to avoid Schechel’s SUV, police said. That car was being driven by 34-year-old Juan Robles, according to police.

Robles’ car was then rear-ended by a fourth car that was driven by Nancy Gallo, 44, police said.

Finally, a fifth car being driven by 40-year-old Thomas Gibson sideswiped Schechel’s vehicle before coming to a stop, police said.

Newman Ayeh-Brachie, Gallo, Schechel and a passenger in Schechel’s car, 56-year-old Luz Hoffman, all suffered injuries as a result of the crash.

The evidence that led to Schechel’s arrest was not released Thursday.

He could not be reached Thursday and his attorney didn’t return a call seeking comment.

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(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)