Eight Dead in Wrong Way Accident in New York


A minivan travelling the wrong way hit an SUV head on near Briarcliff Manor, New York on Sunday, killing eight people. The female driver of the minivan apparently entered the suburban parkway and began driving south in the northbound lane. After hitting the SUV head on, the minivan hit another vehicle, rolled down an embankment and caught fire. The female driver and four children were killed. A fifth child survived. Three men in the SUV were killed. Two others in the third vehicle were taken to the hospital.

This was the second wrong way accident on that stretch of road on Sunday. Earlier that day five people were injured when a vehicle entered the southbound lanes headed north and hit another vehicle.

Authorities are investigating both accidents, but one of the issues that has come up is the construction of the highway. Beginning in the early ’20s, the Taconic State Parkway was built in stages. It began as an extension of the Bronx Parkway that connected New York City to Bear Mountain Bridge. Authorities and the media report that the parkway has entry ramps where vehicles merge with traffic in most places, but some have crossroads with stoplights. Vehicles turn either into the northbound or southbound lanes from these.

Can Blame be Placed?

As tragic as this accident is, questions are already beginning to surface as to the cause. Is it driver negligence? Is it highway design? Perhaps one needs to be familiar with the area in order to figure out how to get onto the parkway. If this is the case, then out-of-town drivers may be confused as to how to get onto the road. And if this is the case, then perhaps it is the New York highway department that may be to blame. However, authorities and maybe lawyers and experts may then have to look at the number of accidents that have occurred on this section of road over several years. If there have been problems with other drivers getting on the road going the wrong way, then it will be up to the State of New York to fix this.

Driver negligence is another possibility. A woman with five children in her vehicle may be more distracted than she first realizes. It may not take much to make a mistake and get into the wrong lane and head the wrong way. Or maybe it was talking on the cell phone. Or maybe it was another hundred issues. In the auto accident that injured five, speaking to the driver of that one may actually shed some light on the other tragedy.