Wrong Way Crash in Sayville Kills Patchogue Man
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Wrong Way Crash in Sayville Kills Patchogue Man

car accident ambulance23 year-old Christian Hernandez was killed in a wrong-way crash last Wednesday evening, report Suffolk County Police. The Patchogue man’s Chevrolet Malibu suddenly veered into incoming traffic, before hitting a Toyota Prius head-on.

Police say that Hernandez was traveling westbound on Montauk Highway when he crossed into the eastbound lane near Broadway Avenue in Sayville.

Long Island crash kills Patchogue man

The impact of the collision ripped Hernandez’ Malibu in half, and left him with critical injuries. He was taken to Southside Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead. Thirty-two year old Qin Zhang, who was driving the Prius, was treated for injuries at Memorial Hospital Medical Center, but is in stable condition.

Video footage shows the mangled remains of both drivers’ vehicles, which held up traffic for the remainder of the night. Authorities have since impounded both vehicles for a safety check and say they are continuing to investigate the cause of the violent car crash. It is unknown at this time if alcohol, drugs or distractions played a role in the deadly accident. Suffolk County Police ask that anyone with insight or information about the crash to please contact authorities at the Fifth Squad.

Dynamics of wrong-way collisions

According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), wrong-way collisions are not nearly as common as other types of traffic accidents and only account for roughly three percent of all wrecks on divided highways. Despite their rarity, wrong-way accidents are far more likely to cause life-threatening or fatal injuries compared to other accidents.

Data gleaned from the NTSB shows that 9 percent of wrong-way drivers have been convicted of drunk driving or driving under the influence within three years of their accidents, compared to just 3.2 percent of right-way drivers.

The NTSB compiled other similar features of wrong-way collisions:

  • The majority of wrong way crashes and/or movements involve a vehicle incorrectly entering an exit ramp due to poor signage or unfamiliarity with the area.
  • Motorists age 70 or older are statistically more likely to be at-fault in wrong way crashes.
  • Most wrong way crashes occur on the weekends.
  • An estimated 78% of all wrong way accidents take place between 6 pm – 6 am. It is speculated that night time yields a higher number of crashes because of poor visibility, and a higher rate of drivers who are fatigued, or who have been drinking.
  • More than 50 percent of all wrong way collisions are caused by drivers who are under the influence of alcohol.

Can lowering warning signs prevent crashes?

Different states have approached the problem of wrong-way collisions with varying measures of success. For example, California began lowering “Wrong Way” warning signs back in the 1970s after a study showed they prevented the majority of wrong-way entries on problematic ramps. Since then, Florida, Arizona, Virginia, Ohio, Georgia and other states have implemented the same tactics.

Some states are using videos, sensors and other high-tech solutions to help prevent and examine the cause of wrong way accidents.

If you or a loved one has been harmed by a wrong-way driver, the law affords avenues for pursuing legal compensation. Over the last 40 years, The Sanders Firm has garnered an impressive track record of car accident verdicts and settlements on behalf of their clients. To speak with a veteran New York car accident lawyer about your rights, call 1-800-FAIR-PLAY to set up a free case review today.