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Big Rig Hits Hutch Overpass in Rye Brook

RYE BROOK, N.Y. – Yet another tractor-trailer truck has hit a Hutchinson River Parkway overpass, this time on the thoroughfare’s divide with the Merritt Parkway in Rye Brook early Friday morning.

Around 3:30 a.m. Friday morning a Western Express truck from Tennessee ran into the King Street overpass, closing the parkway northbound at exit 30. Rye Brook Police diverted motorists off the parkway, onto King Street, and back onto the Merritt Parkway.

The driver, Robert Peck, 47, of Tennessee was hauling 40,000 pounds of Jim Beam alcohol when he ran into the bridge, shearing the entire roof off of the truck, police said. According to Kieran O’Leary, spokesperson for the Westchester County Police Department, he was uninjured but received three summonses for restricted vehicle violation, height violation and failure to obey a traffic control device.

By 11 a.m. just two Westchester County police vehicles remained on the scene as Safeway Towing workers cleaned up sheet metal and prepared to tow the truck. There was only a partial lane closure at northbound exit 27 and traffic was moving.

“Today’s bridge strike is a very common scenario,” said O’Leary early Friday afternoon. “It’s a truck driver from out-of-state who is not familiar with local roads and restrictions, he is relying on a GPS and not paying attention to signage on the approaches to any entrance.”

Earlier this month O’Leary, said on average a bridge is struck on the Hutchinson River, Saw Mill River, Cross County, or Bronx River parkways once a week. The latest accident was the 24th one this year in Westchester County.

“There is a commercial-grade GPS, which is much more expensive. We do find people will grab their personal GPS and throw it in the truck and hit the road. The regular GPS will not tell you when there are height and weight restrictions. Commercial ones will direct commercial vehicles to the right address,” said O’Leary.

Westchester County will seek reimbursement for police time used on the incident. Last year, police recovered about $20,000 from various insurance companies. “We don’t view them as routine accidents,” said O’Leary. “This is a situation where you have a large commercial vehicle driven by someone who should know better and ending up causing a big problem.”

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