Tpr lucky to be alive after crash along the Thruway

In a frightening crash that reiterates the dangers NYS Troopers face every day, on Tuesday night a tractor-trailer sideswiped a troop car parked along the side of the NYS Thruway, trapping the Trooper inside. Thankfully, the Trooper did not suffer life-threatening injuries.

Trooper Derek Cunningham had initiated a traffic stop along the Thruway in Wheatland and was writing the motorist a ticket when the tractor-trailer hit his troop car.

The investigation into the crash is continuing. Below is an article from the Democrat & Chronicle newspaper of Rochester with more details about the crash.

Investigation continues in Thruway crash

Victoria E. Freile
Staff writer

(June 8, 2006) — State police continued to investigate a crash Tuesday night that injured a state trooper and a tractor-trailer driver on the state Thruway.

Both men were taken to Strong Memorial Hospital with minor injuries and were discharged Wednesday, according to a hospital spokeswoman.

Trooper Derrick Cunningham, a 19-year veteran, was in his car about 10:20 p.m. Tuesday, on the south shoulder of the eastbound lane near mile marker 371 in Wheatland.

He was writing a ticket for a motorist he had stopped for a violation when a tractor-trailer sideswiped the car, said State Police Capt. Michael Nigrelli.

Cunningham was trapped inside the car, Nigrelli said. His left leg was reportedly injured.

The truck driver — Larry Steward, 55, of Fredonia, Chautauqua County — reportedly lost control of his rig after hitting the car, and the cab and trailer overturned.

Steward was airlifted to Strong with what troopers said were minor injuries.

Steward was operating the rig for Shan-Lor Trucking, of Forestville, Chautauqua County, said State Police Sgt. Paula Salatel.

The vehicle that had been stopped for a traffic infraction was struck by debris from Cunningham’s patrol car, Salatel said. No one inside that vehicle was injured, she said.

Troopers suspect that driver inattention and an unsafe lane change by the tractor-trailer driver led to the crash.

Steward was not ticketed at the scene, but troopers are still investigating, Salatel said.

Click here for a link to the Democrat & Chronicle newspaper