1 dead in LIE crash that was storm-related, cops say

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One driver was killed Wednesday morning in a what police said appears to be a storm-related two-vehicle crash on the westbound Long Island Expressway in Melville.

Suffolk County police said the crash occurred east of Exit 49, Route 110, just before 5 a.m. -- at the height of the morning storm that deluged some sections of Long Island with more than 13 inches of rain.

Police said a male driver lost control of a Jeep Liberty, was struck from behind by a tractor trailer and then hit the cement center divider and was engulfed in flames.

The driver of the Jeep was pronounced dead at the scene, police said in a news release. The man's name is being withheld pending positive identification by the Suffolk County medical examiner.

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Joseph Bonilla Jr., 52, of Central Islip, the driver of the tractor trailer, suffered minor injuries. The tractor trailer, owned by JVB Transport, was carrying waste oil, police said.

"Following a preliminary investigation, the crash appears to be weather-related," the news release said.

The investigation is continuing. Anyone with information can call the Second Squad at 631-854-8252.

With Gary Dymski

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