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Three remain hospitalized after crash that tied up I-95 for hours

By Greg Smith

Publication: theday.com

Published October 24. 2012 8:00AM   Updated October 25. 2012 12:03AM

Waterford — Three people sustained serious injuries and a portion of Interstate 95 North in Waterford was completely shut down for more than 13 hours Wednesday due to an early-morning crash involving a tractor-trailer carrying aerosol canisters.

At 1 a.m. Wednesday, state police said a tractor-trailer collided with an SUV on I-95 just north of Exit 76, at the Interstate 395 connector near the East Lyme town line. Emergency crews from the area arrived at the scene of the crash to find the tractor-trailer down an embankment.

The highway was closed, and traffic was diverted off I-95 onto I-395 at Exit 76.

Oswegatchie Fire Department Lt. Stuart Coleman said crash victims were taken from the scene by ambulances from Oswegatchie, Jordan and Flanders fire departments.

The crash involved an SUV driven by Patricia Stebbins, 31, of Westerly, and a New England Motor Freight tractor-trailer driven by Sherman Adams, 51, of Edison, N.J., state police said.

Both drivers, along with Darla Holly, 34, of Westerly, who was a passenger in Stebbins’ vehicle, were initially taken to Lawrence & Memorial Hospital.

Stebbins was listed in fair condition at L&M Wednesday evening. Adams was listed in fair condition at Yale-New Haven Hospital, while Holly was listed in serious condition at Rhode Island Hospital.

One lane of traffic was reopened shortly after 2 p.m, and both lanes were reopened later in the afternoon, state police said.

State Department of Transportation spokesman Kevin Nursick said the clean-up at the crash scene was a lengthy process in part because of the police investigation but also because of a diesel spill and the nature of the tractor-trailer’s cargo.

“When you have something potentially volatile, great care needs to be taken by the first responders and folks offloading that trailer,” Nursick said.

Police ask anyone who witnessed the crash to contact Trooper Daniel Hoffner at (860) 848-6500.

The stretch of the highway where the accident occurred Wednesday has been the site of various serious accidents over the years. In 2011, an Amherst, Mass., resident died due to injuries sustained during a crash between Exits 75 and 76.

In 2007, a tanker truck left the northbound roadway, drove through the center guardrail of I-95 and crossed into southbound traffic, striking four cars and a tractor-trailer. The crash occurred just before Exit 75 and killed three people.

g.smith@theday.com

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