The driver of a tractor-trailer was killed when the truck went off the Northway in Clifton Park Monday morning, an accident that shut down the highway’s southbound lanes for nearly the entire day and backed up traffic on the Northway and Route 9 for miles.
The victim was identified by state police as Michael Cenate, 75, of Fort Ann. The driver of a Volkswagen involved in the crash was Chantale LaBelle, 48, of Quebec. She was treated for minor lacerations on the scene. Three other people in the vehicle were uninjured, police said.
State police said the preliminary investigation found that the tractor-trailer was traveling in the left passing lane and sideswiped Labelle in a Volkswagen Golf, which was in the center lane.
The contact caused the Volkswagen to spin out, coming to rest on the right shoulder of the highway. The tractor-trailer struck the median side guardrail, overturned and came to rest in the center median, according to police.
The accident is still under investigation with no charges or tickets pending, police said.
The accident occurred just before 9 a.m. between exits 9 and 10 in the northern part of Clifton Park. All three lanes were reopened shortly after 4:30 p.m., state police said, though traffic backups continued.
Starting shortly after the crash, southbound Northway motorists were urged to use state Route 9 as an alternate travel route. The switch moved large volumes of traffic onto side roads. Drivers were then allowed to return to the Northway at Exit 9.
The Northway was such slow going throughout the day that some people drove onto the median in an attempt to turn around, according to police scanner traffic.
Several other accidents occurred along Route 9 on Monday, possibly due to the high volume of additional traffic the road was seeing.
Initially, traffic was being taken off the Northway at Exit 10, but the detour was pushed back to Exit 11, then Exit 12, as the day wore on.
Saratoga County Emergency Services Director Carl Zeilman said fire departments were called out to help direct the high volumes of traffic.
Monday’s lengthy closure came just a month after the northbound lanes were totally closed by an April 14 brushfire that shut the road down for the peak of the evening rush hour, also clogging local roads.
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Categories: News, Schenectady County