A box-truck driver died in fiery crash Friday after he slammed into a utility pole, a tree and cars parked at the Wantagh train station, authorities said.
Seventh Squad detectives are investigating the fatal crash that occurred at 7:40 p.m. Friday, Nassau County police said in a news release Saturday morning.
According to detectives, the operator of the 2007 Freightliner was traveling westbound on Sunrise Highway just west of Seaford Avenue when he apparently lost control of the truck and struck a guardrail, causing the truck to leave the road and overturn into unoccupied vehicles parked in the commuter lot at the Long Island Rail Road station.
The truck caught fire with the driver trapped inside, police said. The Wantagh Fire Department responded to the scene, extinguished the fire and the truck driver, who was the only occupant, was discovered and pronounced dead at the scene. Police said the identification of the driver will be confirmed pending DNA examination from the Nassau County medical examiner’s office.
The crash and fire shut down the highway in both directions between Oakland and Seaford avenues, police said.
Wantagh firefighters were initially dispatched to what they believed was just a truck ablaze but found an extensive fire scene, said James Hickman, supervisor of fire investigations for the Nassau County fire marshal’s office.
“The fire department didn’t realize it was an auto accident, and they arrived to a scene of chaos, with the truck on fire and they had flowing fuel in the municipal parking lot that was on fire,” the fire investigator said from the scene.
The blaze could have been started by spilled fuel coming in contact with sparks from the downed utility wires, Hickman said. The burning fuel covered about 10 parking spaces and destroyed four vehicles, he said.
After the fire was extinguished, the back of the truck was just a hulk against the utility pole and what had been a large tree.
Police said the crash remains under investigation.