Two women die in crash on I-95 in East Lyme
East Lyme — Monday's early morning crash on Interstate 95 north, which left two women dead and a man seriously injured, occurred within the stretch of highway The Day's 2015 investigation deemed the most dangerous in the state east of the Connecticut River.
Marie L. Graves, 69, of Providence, and Katerina Barrett, 28, of Greenville, S.C., died in the accident that occurred at 4:30 a.m. just south of Exit 72. The accident, which state police said involved two cars and a tractor trailer, shut down the highway for several hours.
Police said initial investigation showed Barrett was driving a Volvo in the left lane when her car made contact with a tractor trailer, which she was passing. The Volvo veered to the left, struck the Jersey barrier separating the two sides of the highway and re-entered the highway where it struck a Kia driven by Kenneth Graves, 72, of Providence.
Graves was taken to Lawrence + Memorial Hospital with serious injuries, and his passenger, Marie Graves, was pronounced dead at the scene.
Barrett, who was thrown from her vehicle during the accident, was also taken to L+M, where she later died of her injuries.
The driver of the tractor trailer, 27-year-old Bekzhan Turumkulov of Chicago, was not injured.
According to 19 years of state data The Day crunched in a 2015 investigation, East Lyme from Exit 71 (Four Mile River Road) to the split with I-395 has the highest number of fatalities and injuries in the state east of the Connecticut River. That number, 745, represents about a quarter of the crashes that injured or killed from 1995 through 2013.
And, while the accident rate for all of I-95 in Connecticut since 2008 is 1.6 accidents per 1 million vehicles, in the area of Exits 71 and 72 in East Lyme — located about a half a mile away from each other — the rate is 2.1 accidents per million.
A state police Collision Analysis Reconstruction Squad, a state police Commercial Motor Vehicle Squad, the state Department of Transportation and state Office of the Chief Medical Examiner continue to investigate Monday's accident.
First responders included state police from Troop E and Troop F, East Lyme police, Flanders and Niantic fire departments and L+M paramedics.
The crash remains under investigation and witnesses are asked to contact Trooper Daniel Hoffner #1146 at (860) 848-6500.
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