NEW YORK – Three people were killed and nearly a dozen others were injured in a multi-car pileup on a Long Island Expressway exit early Wednesday morning. Authorities are investigating the horrifying crash but speed, a faulty guardrail and a dump truck may be contributing factors.
Police believe a high-speed race initially triggered the chain-reaction crash, the New York Post reported. Investigators said a black 2010 Infiniti was speeding when it struck a guardrail, splitting the vehicle in half.
According to the Post, 25-year-old Michael Fabre was at the wheel when he lost control of the vehicle on the east side of the Long Island Expressway near the Maurice Avenue exit in Maspeth.
Fabre was pronounced dead on scene. Police told reporters that the two other deaths associated with this crash also occurred in Fabre’s vehicle. Rear passengers Giovanny Sanchez, 24, and Christina Formato, 24, were ejected from the vehicle after it struck the guardrail and were declared dead at the scene.
A fourth passenger inside the Infinity is listed in stable condition, according to investigating police.
The crash sparked a chain-reaction as the driver of a Kenworth dump truck did not stop in time to avoid crashing into five other vehicles that were stopped on the highway. A New York car accident lawyer at Cellino & Barnes says there are many factors that could have reduced the severity of the deadly collisions.
“Heavy trucks are always a concern for drivers in New York,” car accident lawyer Steve Barnes said. “When our attorneys investigate a crash involving a heavy truck, like a dump truck, we look at the amount of time the driver had been behind the wheel and we also look at the vehicle’s maintenance record because a lot of times these trucks can have faulty brakes that prevent the driver from stopping on time.”
The truck was marked as a Nickabella’s Trucking Corp. vehicle, Post reporters wrote.
New York car accident lawyers say the guardrail should also be scrutinized for safety. Just this summer, a congressional study found that many guardrails were not properly tested before they were installed, sparking dozens of injuries and lawsuits.
“Some guardrails can act like spears and if they’re not properly tested and installed, they have been known to impale vehicles, drivers and passengers,” Barnes said. “Guardrails that act in this manner are not only considered defective, they can also be deadly in scenarios like the one that occurred in Queens this week.”
The congressional report criticized the Federal Highway Administration for its lack on testing and concerns over faulty guardrails date back years. In October 2014, a jury found Trinity Industries, a manufacturer of guardrails, guilty of fraud and assessed a $175 million verdict.
“Guardrails are supposed to be designed to keep drivers and their passengers safe in the event of a crash,” Barnes said. “If a guardrail is able to split a vehicle in two, it may not be designed properly and it is something that our attorneys would certainly investigate.”
Although the Long Island Expressway is open to traffic again, NYPD’s Collision Investigation Squad continues to investigate the crash.
The families of Michael Fabre, Giovanny Sanchez and Christina Formato have lost a loved one and several other drivers and passengers are recovering in New York hospitals.
“It’s devastating to lose a loved one in a car crash. Victims and their families will be looking for answers,” Barnes said. “If they’re injured, they’ll want help with lost wages, child care, missing time from work, and the mounting medical bills.”
Barnes said filing a claim could also spark positive changes to road configuration and large truck safety so similar incidents can be prevented in the future.
Cellino & Barnes 800-888-8888