BRANT, N.Y. (AP) — A van carrying 10 people home from a Florida vacation drifted off the Thruway on Thursday morning and rear-ended a state-owned dump truck moving slowly alongside the highway outside Buffalo, killing two adults and a 1-month-old boy in the van, state police said.
A third adult and six other children in the van were injured, along with the driver of the Thruway Authority vehicle that was hit around 7:45 a.m. on the eastbound side of Interstate 90 in the southern Erie County town of Brant, Capt. Douglas Montijo said.
The truck was traveling only 1 or 2 mph along the left shoulder as it followed two Thruway workers picking up trash in the median, Montijo said. There were no indications the man driving the van touched the brakes before the van slammed into the back of the truck, which was mounted with a lighted arrow board, he said.
The van’s 27-year-old driver and a 30-year-old woman were killed along with the infant, Montijo said. The six injured children range in age from 2 years old to 13, he said.
The children were being treated at Women and Children’s Hospital in Buffalo, hospital spokesman John Moscato said. The extent of their injuries and their conditions weren’t immediately available, he said. Information on the surviving adult also wasn’t available. The dump truck driver suffered minor injuries.
Police believe two families were traveling in the van while returning to the Buffalo area after vacationing in Florida, Montijo said. The names of the dead and injured were being withheld until relatives could be notified, he said.
Blankets and pillows found in the wrecked van indicate the group may have been traveling all night, possible evidence that driver fatigue may have played a role in the collision, Montijo said.
An 11-mile stretch of the Thruway’s eastbound lanes were closed for four hours after the crash.