The driver killed in a fiery head-on collision on Interstate 787 has been identified as an Albany man, state police said.
Peter H. Schissler, 62, of Albany, was killed when his Toyota Corolla, traveling north in the southbound lanes, slammed head-on into the tractor-trailer, which was carrying nearly 20 tons of paper.
The reason Schissler was driving the wrong way on the interstate was unknown Thursday, but state police said there was no indication that alcohol or drugs played a factor.
Schissler suffered from one or more medical conditions that may have caused some disorientation, police said. Police did not identify the conditions. He died of chest trauma.
The morning crash left a portion of 787 closed for much of the morning. The crash happened next to the Exit 5 ramp, in the left lane on the southbound side.
The northbound lanes were for about 5.5 hours, while the southbound lanes were closed for about 11 hours.
The crash happened at about 5:15 a.m. when Schissler slammed into the tractor trailer, driven by Talikai Ayuba, 46, of Albany. Ayuba suffered non-life-threatening injuries and was taken to Albany Medical Center for treatment.
State Police had received several 911 calls for a wrong-way driver within minutes of the crash. The calls began in the area of Exit 2. The information would be consistent with Schissler entering 787 from Southern Boulevard, near his residence.
Upon impact, the tractor-trailer burst into flames. The fiery scene was extinguished by the Albany Fire Department over the next several hours.
The truck was registered to the JB Hunt Corporation, of Arkansas. It was carrying about 39,000 pounds of copy and blueprint paper.
The investigation is being conducted with the assistance of the state police Troop G Collision Reconstruction and Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Units.
No charges against the truck driver were pending.