Man dead after multi-vehicle pile-up on New York's Thruway EB near Cheektowaga
Cheektowaga, N.Y. (WHAM) - An intense burst of snow squalls led to a crash that shut down sections of the New York State Thruway eastbound on Tuesday afternoon.
Twenty two vehicles collided in a blizzard Tuesday afternoon. The crash happened around 2 p.m. near exits 49 and 50 on the Thruway.
State Police report 64-year-old Edward Torres of Elba died in the crash, and another person was seriously hurt.
According to investigators, a tractor trailer driving eastbound in the right lane came to an abrupt stop due to an accident ahead. Torres, who was driving behind the trailer, was unable to stop. Torres crashed into the back of the tractor trailer and was seriously injured. He was taken by ambulance to Erie County Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.
While both east and westbound traffic were closed for portions of the afternoon and evening following the crash, all lanes have reopened as of 10 p.m.
Cory Zapier was heading back home to Rochester after work when he got tangled up in the crash. He said he had no choice but to crash into the back of a tractor trailer.
"It was either go into a car on this side or that side, so I chose the semi." he said.
"You couldn't see more than 20 feet in front of you," he added. "It was blizzardy and cold."
He says many others swerved to avoid more wrecks.
State Police say multiple people were treated for minor injuries; one person remains in serious condition as of Wednesday morning.
Tammy Dawn of Greece was driving home from South Carolina with her grandson Tuesday afternoon.
"Got through the tolls, saw the pileup and just put the car in the ditch," she recalled. "I'd prefer to put the car in a ditch, rather than hit someone or have somebody hit the back of my car and injure my grandson."
Both Dawn and Zapier said they had no idea how big the crash scene stretched until they were picked up by a school bus and taken to shelter at a hotel.
"Passing it on the bus and seeing how severe it was, that's what scared me," said Dawn.