Update: ME to help identify driver in fatal truck crash in Calverton


PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | Firefighters douse a flaming truck that crashed into a tree on Edwards Avenue Tuesday afternoon. Police said the driver of the truck was killed in the accident.

Update: Riverhead police issued a press release late Tuesday indicating the driver killed in Tuesday’s tractor trailer crash in Calverton had not yet been identified.

“Positive identification by the Suffolk County medical examiner’s office is pending,” police said.

The 2011 Mack truck burst into flames upon impact, and a witness at the scene told the News-Review he did not see the driver escape from the blaze.

Riverhead police were still investigating the scene as of midnight Tuesday, nearly 12 hours after the crash.

Original story below:

A tractor trailer driver was killed in a fiery crash Tuesday afternoon in Calverton after losing control of the truck, which then collided with a tree and overturned on Edwards Avenue before bursting into flames, Riverhead police said.

An 18-wheeler tractor trailer carrying what appeared to be sand was heading northbound on Edwards Avenue when it crossed into oncoming traffic and collided with a southbound vehicle before striking the tree, said Riverhead police Lt. David Lessard.

The other vehicle was a 2008 Subaru driven by 64-year-old Joseph Reilly Jr. of New Jersey, who was not injured, police said.

“We don’t know what caused [the truck] to cross over,” Lt. Lessard said, adding that authorities will conduct a safety check of the Subaru.

Police did not identify the driver, pending notification of the victim’s family.

“I thought it was a brush fire at first,” said Hal Lindstrom of nearby Triangle Lane, who came upon the truck shortly after the crash. “I just saw flames and smoke coming out of there. The whole thing was engulfed.”

Mr. Lindstrom said he did not see the driver escape from the truck.

The Riverhead Fire Department, Fire Marshall, and Highway Department, as well as state Department of Environmental Conservation and Suffolk County officers assisted at the scene, police said.

A portion of Edwards Avenue south of Route 25 was still closed as of 3:30 p.m. as police investigated the scene.

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