Posted at: 07/15/2013 10:41 AM
Updated at: 07/15/2013 7:50 PM
By: Steve Flamisch
HOOSICK -- Five people were injured Monday when a tractor-trailer hauling a load of plastic hangers to Bennington crossed the double yellow line and collided with two sport utility vehicles on Route 7, State Police said.
None of the injuries was considered to be life-threatening, State Police said. The truck driver was ticketed for travelling at an unsafe speed and failing to keep right. An additional charge was expected.
"The Commercial Vehicle Unit has inspected the vehicle -- the tractor-trailer -- and has determined that the brakes were inadequate," Trooper Mark Cepiel told NewsChannel 13. "There will be another pending charge of inadequate brakes."
State Police did not identify any of the people involved.
The accident closed a long stretch of Route 7 between Route 278 in Center Brunswick and Route 22 in Hoosick from about 9 a.m. until 12:45 p.m.
The crash happened on a curvy, hilly section of Route 7 in Tibbits State Forest, just west of the Stewart's Shop at the intersection with Route 22.
There have been at least five serious accidents here in the last three years, Rensselaer County Legislator Stan Brownell said. They include a propane tanker crash in March 2011 and a gasoline tanker crash in February 2013.
"It's a dangerous stretch of road," Brownell said. "It is semi-marked with chevrons but I think additional signage needs to happen, whether it be flashing lights, 'Slow: Curves Ahead.' Anything (of) that nature would help."
The Rensselaer County Legislature twice passed resolutions asking the state Department of Transportation (DOT) to examine the safety of the highway.
DOT responded to each request by initiating a study, a spokesman said. Engineers have been checking and installing signage in the area, including advisory speeds, chevrons, and hill warnings.
Despite the high-profile crashes, this section of Route 7 actually has a lower accident rate than similar highways, the spokesman said.
Drivers -- especially truckers -- need to pay close attention when navigating through the "esses," Texas-based trucker Jeff Reardon said.
"You've got to be careful," Reardon, who has been driving big rigs for 34 years, told NewsChannel 13. "Empty or loaded, it's not an area where you want to get carried away with yourself. You have to watch your speed. You have to watch your distance."
Monday's crash delayed Reardon for several hours. Reardon was hauling a 138,000-pound bridge beam, pushing his truck's bumper-to-bumper length to 118 feet. Trucks carrying oversized loads must follow a pre-determined route.
"This is a truck that can't go off its permanent route," escort driver Joan Alpern said.
Alpern and Reardon were able to resume their journey to Brewster, N.Y. when the highway re-opened.