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Tappan Zee accident: wrong way driver responsible for fatal bridge accident

Posted By CAROLINE LEE, UPI.com   |   July 24, 2013 at 9:20 AM
A wrong-way driver is responsible for a five-car crash on the Tappan Zee Bridge in New York that killed one woman and injured four others.

New York State Police said the wreck happened at 9 p.m. Tuesday, when 69-year-old Michael Schechel was driving south in the northbound lanes of the bridge.

Schechel's vehicle crashed head-on into a Nissan, driven by Newman Ayeh-Brachie, 57. Ayeh-Brachie's car rolled several times, ending up upside-down in the center lane of the bridge.

A third car traveling southbound hit the Nissan after swerving to avoid Schechel's car. The driver was Juan Robles, 34.

Then, Robles' car was rear-ended by a fourth car driven by 44-year-old Nancy Gallo. Thomas Gibson, driving the fifth car, sideswiped Schelel's vehicle.

Ayeh-Brachie's passenger, 56-year-old Hannah Ayeh-Brachie, was pronounced dead on the scene.

Newman Ayeh-Brachie, Gallo, Schechel, and Schechel's passenger Luz Hoffman were taken to the hospital in serious or critical condition.

Christian Evans dodged Schechel's car minutes before he hit Ayeh-Brachie's car, and said Schechel did not move to the side or go off course to dodge her vehicle.

“It was weird, he kept coming at me,” Evans said. “It was like we were playing ‘chicken’ for that 30 seconds. I saw him. He didn’t make an attept to move his car."

“I was trying to get his attention,” he said. “I layed on my horn. He didn’t make any attempt to move or brake.”

No arrests have yet been made as police continue to investigate the accident. Schechel is thought to have left a store just before getting on the road.

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