Man dies in SUV crash with garbage truck in St. James

The driver of a sport utility vehicle died and another driver was injured in an early morning accident between a garbage truck and the passenger vehicle Wednesday on Route 25 in St. James, Suffolk County police said. Videojournalist: Stringer News Long Island (Jan. 16, 2013)

The driver of a sport utility vehicle died and another driver was injured in an early morning collision Wednesday between the SUV and a garbage truck on Route 25 in St. James, Suffolk County police said.

The crash, near Huber Place, took place just after 2 a.m. Route 25 between Route 347 and Cambon Place was closed for more than six hours, police said.

The driver of the 2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee, Jaime Rodriguez, 25, of Hauppauge, died at the scene, police said. His vehicle was headed east on Route 25 when it "crossed into the westbound lanes and collided" with the garbage truck, the police said in a news release.

Rodriguez was pronounced dead at the scene.

The driver of the 2004 Mack truck, Joseph Mundy, 50, was taken to Stony Brook University Hospital with unspecified nonlife-threatening injuries. Mundy, a driver for Progressive Waste Solutions of Long Island, who was substituting for a driver involved in a fatal accident, has been released, said Anthony Farina, district manager.

The crash is the second fatal collision between a garbage truck operated by Progressive Waste Solutions and a passenger vehicle on Route 25 in the past week.

Before dawn Friday, off-duty Suffolk Police Officer Patrick Curley, 40, of Huntington, died when his SUV collided with a garbage truck backing out of a business parking lot on Route 25 in Commack.

Farina said Mundy was filling in for driver James Jarosch, 59, who was shaken but not injured in Friday's crash. In his 28 years in the business, Farina said, just one other company vehicle has been involved in a fatality. "Two in a year would be unprecedented," Farina said, "let alone two in seven days."

With Joseph Mallia

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