Saw Mill Parkway lanes reopened after tractor-trailer cleared
Northbound lanes on the Saw Mill River Parkway were reopened to traffic about 11:45 a.m. Wednesday, six hours after a tractor-trailer, operated by a driver on his first day driving solo, slammed into an overpass and spilled debris on the roadway, officials said.
The tractor-trailer owned by Fee Trans Service of Norman, Okla., hit an overpass in Pleasantville about 5:30 a.m., spilling diesel fuel and wreckage onto the roadway and closing all northbound lanes between the Bedford Road exit (28) and the Manville Road exit (29).
There were no reported injuries. The driver, Steven Parker of Bear, Del., was following GPS instructions from his mobile phone when he wandered onto the limited-access highway on what he told officials was his first day driving alone, a spokesman for the Westchester County police said.
The accident ripped off part of the trailer's roof and created lengthy delays as commuters scrambled to find alternate routes.
A Westchester County hazardous materials team pumped out the truck's diesel fuel after the gas tank became dislodged in the crash.
A crane was brought to the site to help maneuver the refrigerated trailer that was carrying frozen food.
Progress on clearing the wreckage was slowed by the proximity of a second overpass nearby.
Rubbernecks also slowed traffic on the southbound Saw Mill as they tried to see the crumpled wreck.
The trucking company will be billed for the cost of cleanup and towing, the spokesman said. In such cases, Westchester County typically seeks reimbursement for police time from the trucking company's insurance carrier.
"It's way more expensive than calling AAA when you have a flat and way more complicated," he said.
The costs for police time and cleanups have been known to run as high as $30,000.
Truck strikes have been a chronic problem on the Saw Mill and Hutchinson River parkways. One Hutchinson River overpass registered more than 90 truck strikes from 1993 to mid-2010, according to state Department of Transportation data.