PORT CHESTER, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — New York State police want to question the driver of a truck after a freak accident killed a woman on the New England Thruway.

LISTEN: WCBS 880’s Catherine Cioffi reports

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Investigators said a tractor-trailer heading south lost its entire rear axle with the wheels attached in Port Chester Tuesday afternoon.

One of the tires flew into the northbound lanes and slammed into a car, killing the driver, 62-year-old Adele Mancuso of Toms River, N.J.

“You should always be scanning, be alert and aware of what’s around you,” Sgt. Pete Scully, emergency vehicle operations instructor for Yonkers Police Department, told CBS 2’s Tony Aiello. “They weigh much more, David versus Goliath, this time Goliath wins.”

The truck kept going and was later found in Hamilton, N.J.

The victim’s 82-year-old mother, Constance Casalina of Larchmont, N.Y., survived with just a scratch on her arm. She told police the tire was upon them in a flash and her daughter had no time to react.

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Scully said driving safely around big rigs involves two key factors — distance and road awareness. Road awareness means scanning in front, behind and to the sides of your vehicle.

“You got to give truck drivers more room.  When you get in front of them, don’t cut them off.  If you have to make a quick stop, they’re dragging several more tons behind them, they will not be able to stop and they will hit you.

“While you’re driving, you should be looking further down the road than just the next car in front of you. And that gives you a head’s up, an early warning as to whether there is trouble in front of you, more time to react to any danger that might pop up,” Scully said.

Mancuso and her mother were driving to Connecticut to visit family.

State police investigator Noel Nelson said they’re waiting to interview the driver to find out exactly what happened.

No word yet on what, if any charges, will be filed.

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