NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A crash involving a city sanitation truck had a domino effect, ending with one damaged car after another and debris all over the place.
CBS2’s Lisa Rozner was at 21st Street near 49th Avenue in the Hunters Point section of Queens on Wednesday, the scene of Tuesday’s night’s incident. Dirt was seen on the sidewalk and car parts were spotted where eight totaled vehicles were piled up. It looked like a war zone following what transpired hours before.
The cars were crumpled on top of each other. One was even ripped to shreds. The NYPD said a Department of Sanitation truck driver crashed into one parked car at around 7 p.m., causing a chain reaction.
“A garbage truck backed up and then I guess he didn’t notice that there was a car behind him, but that car backed up into like 10 other cars and every car broke,” witness Carlos Monsalve said. “It was like you heard the one like [clap] bang and then you just … loud screeching for like 20 more seconds.”
Police said one person in a vehicle suffered a minor injury and has since been released from the hospital.
The impact was so strong, the air bags deployed and the car was split into pieces. In fact, its trunk was stuck to the front of the sanitation vehicle, witness James Germain said.
“A bunch of people came to help the driver out. He pried open the door, but when he came out he was a little disoriented,” Germain added.
The NYPD said the 39-year-old truck driver stayed on the scene and did not appear intoxicated. He told officers he hit the gas when he meant to hit the brakes. The Department of Sanitation said the driver has been on the job for about a year and the truck has been taken out of service.
“Yeah, I saw him stand,” Monsalve said, adding when asked about the driver’s state of mind, “Like stressed out, scared, shocked.”
Crews from the Department of Sanitation were on the scene Wednesday afternoon to clean up the dirt and debris left over from Tuesday’s crash. Officials told CBS2 the truck driver has been placed on modified duty pending drug and alcohol testing.