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Police ID I-95 Rye Accident Victims Struck, Killed Standing Outside Cars

What Interstate 95 looked like on Monday afternoon after a double fatal accident shut the thruway down in Rye.
What Interstate 95 looked like on Monday afternoon after a double fatal accident shut the thruway down in Rye. Photo Credit: File photo

This story has been updated.

RYE, N.Y. -- State police released the names on Tuesday of the two Connecticut drivers who were killed in a multiple-car accident on Interstate 95 in Rye on Monday: Kayla Ann Donnelly-Smith, 22, of Hamden, and Winter K. Krzysztof, 61, of Hartford.

Hazardous driving conditions due to snow on I-95 appear to have contributed to the double fatal accident near the Connecticut border, according to state police.

State police were investigating a minor property damage accident involving an airport shuttle van and Lexus sedan about 1:15 p.m. just north of Exit 22 on I-95 when the driver of a Dodge Caravan lost control on the icy thruway. The Caravan struck both drivers from the first accident as well as their vehicles, police said. The victims, who were standing outside of their vehicles, off of the roadway, were tossed against the back of the airport shuttle van, according to police.

The two people were killed instantly as a result of the accidents, according to Trooper Matthew Izbicki, a state police spokesman for Troop T.

The driver of the Dodge Caravan was identified on Tuesday as Tai L. Zhao, 46, of Flushing in Queens. Police said Zhao's vehicle continued back into traffic, striking a commercial bus. The bus then sideswiped another northbound vehicle causing minor damage.

All northbound lanes of I-95 in Rye between Exit 21 and 22 were closed for several hours due to the collision, Izbicki said.

The fatalities occurred about 1:30 p.m. Monday. The motorists were pronounced dead at the scene of the accident, which was at Mile Marker 14.

Zhao was transported with a police escort to Westchester County Medical Center and treated for non-life threatening injuries, police said.

No other injuries were reported. The cause of the accident is under investigation.

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