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Cops: 1 dies in Southern crash; lanes reopen

A male driver was killed in a two-car accident on the Southern State Parkway early Friday in South Hempstead, State Police said.

Police are withholding the identity of the driver, who was pronounced dead at the scene, pending notification of family, according to a news release.

At about 6:43 a.m. a Mazda traveling eastbound on the Southern State Parkway, just west of Exit 20 (Baldwin Road / Grand Avenue), rear-ended a Suzuki sport utility vehicle.

The Mazda then went through the guardrail on the south shoulder before striking a pole and several trees, police said.

The driver of the Mazda was pronounced dead at the scene; a passenger in the SUV was treated for minor injuries at Mercy Medical Center in Rockville Centre.

Police said the accident investigation is ongoing.

Traffic was affected in the area, with all eastbound lanes closed just before 10 a.m. at Exit 20, according to the state Department of Transportation website, The parkway reopened at 12:31 p.m., the site said. An initial closure, reported at 6:50 a.m., affected only the center and right lanes of the eastbound parkway.

The accident occurred on the stretch of the Southern State called Blood Alley, notorious for fatal wrecks for nearly three decades.

The 10-mile stretch is between Exit 17 in Malverne and Exit 32 in South Farmingdale; in the early 1990s it was a target area for the state's effort to improve safety.

After 14 deaths in head-on collisions between 1984 and 1990, the state put in median barriers and modified the grading of the highway to give drivers more traction between Exits 17 and 21. The work cost the DOT about $500,000 to have median barriers installed at three spots in South Hempstead in 1988.

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