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Long IslandSuffolk

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

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.

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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