A Hillcrest, N.Y., woman was killed on the Tappan Zee Bridge late Wednesday when an SUV being driven the wrong way crashed head-on into the car she was a passenger in.
According to police, the driver of the SUV, Michael Schechel, 69, was seen heading south in the northbound lane shortly before 9 p.m. on Tuesday when he crashed into a Nissan driven by Newman Ayeh-Brachie, 57, causing the Nissan to roll over several times before coming to a rest in the middle of the road. While the driver of the Nissan was taken to a nearby hospital with unspecified injuries, 56-year-old Hannah Ayeh-Brachie was pronounced dead at the scene by a Rockland County medical examiner. Schechel and a passenger in his car were also taken to hospitals.
Reports indicate that several other cars were involved the crash, including a third vehicle driven by Juan Robles, 34, of the Bronx, who was able to swerve and avoid the SUV. A fourth vehicle also managed to miss Schechel’s car as well as the Nissan, but slammed into Robles’ car. WABC-TV reported that the fourth vehicle was driven by Nancy Gallo, 44, of Basking Ridge, N.J., who was taken to Westchester Medical Center. Finally, a fifth vehicle sideswiped Schechel’s car before coming to a rest.
While the Tappan Zee accident claimed the life of just one innocent passenger, the way it happened bears an eerie resemblance to the deadly wrong-way crash that occurred in July 2009 when a Long Island woman driving the wrong direction on the Taconic State Parkway in Westchester County crashed into another vehicle, killing herself and seven others — including one of her children and three nieces.
The Tappan Zee Bridge, which carries the New York State Thruway over the Hudson River between Rockland and Westchester counties, north of New York City, was backed up for several hours after the crash as authorities worked to clear the cars and debris and reopen the bridge. The lanes remained closed until shortly before 4 a.m.
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Tappan Zee Bridge Wrong Way Driver Kills 1