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NY Driver Enters Highway in Wrong Direction and Causes Fatal Head-on Collision

9183119_600x338.jpg A driver collided head-on with another vehicle on New York’s Tappan Zee Bridge Tuesday night, killing one, injuring others, and causing a five-car pileup that closed the northbound lanes of the state Thruway for hours. Michael Schechel, a sixty-nine-year-old Thiells resident, entered the highway using an off-ramp in South Nyack. Christian Evans was attempting to get off the highway at that same exit when he saw Schechel’s Ford Explorer coming straight at him on the ramp. Evans laid on his horn, moved out of the way, and let Schechel pass.

State police received a report of a motorist travelling south in the northbound lanes of the bridge at 8:51 p.m. Tuesday, just seconds before they got word of the crash. According to police, once Schechel was on the bridge, he crashed his Ford Explorer head-on into a Nissan driven by Newman Ayeh-Brachie. Ayeh-Brachie’s wife, Hannah, a fifty-six-year-old Hillcrest resident, was a passenger in the Nissan. After Schechel hit the Nissan, it rolled over several times and came to rest on its roof in the middle lane. According to state police, another car hit the Nissan and two more cars crashed into the pileup. Hannah Ayeh-Brachie was pronounced dead at the scene, while her husband had to be extricated from his nearly flattened vehicle. Schechel suffered a head injury and was transported to a hospital. Police intended to speak with Schechel after he was treated. A passenger in Schechel’s vehicle was also injured.

Police are currently investigating whether alcohol or drugs played a role in Schechel getting onto the wrong side of the highway. At this time, police have no evidence to support that either played a role in the crash. Sgt. John Antonelli released a statement that Schechel’s wife told police that Schechel had an anxiety attack at some time before the crash, “but it’s unknown if that’s a factor.”

Police: Wrong-way driver causes fatal NY crash, www.miamiherald.com July 24, 2013


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