Tappan Zee Wrong-Way Driver May Have Had Anxiety Attack: Police

Hundreds of drivers were stuck on the bridge Tuesday night, some for as long as six hours

Wednesday, Jul 24, 2013  |  Updated 7:16 PM EDT
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Police are investigating whether the driver of an SUV that went the wrong way on the Tappan Zee Bridge and crashed head-on into another car, causing a fatal multi-vehicle pileup Tuesday night, was suffering from an anxiety attack. Meanwhile, friends were mourning the victim. Marc Santia reports.

NBC 4 New York

Police are investigating whether the driver of an SUV that went the wrong way on the Tappan Zee Bridge and crashed head-on into another car, causing a fatal multi-vehicle pileup Tuesday night, was suffering from an anxiety attack. Meanwhile, friends were mourning the victim. Marc Santia reports.

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Police are investigating whether the driver of an SUV that went the wrong way on the Tappan Zee Bridge and crashed head-on into another car, causing a fatal multi-vehicle pileup Tuesday night, was suffering from an anxiety attack.

Hundreds of drivers were stuck on the bridge Tuesday night, some for as long as six hours, as investigators reconstructed the accident scene. Many used a restroom on a nearby bus that was also stuck as they waited for the accident to be cleared.

State police say the 69-year-old SUV driver from Thiells, N.Y., may have had an anxiety attack, based on information given to them from the driver's wife, who was in the car with him. Alcohol or drugs are not believed to have played a role. 

Police say the SUV was going southbound in the northbound lanes on the Rockland County side of the bridge around 9 p.m. when it slammed head-on into a car being driven by a 57-year-old woman from Hillcrest, N.Y., causing the woman's car to roll over several times, killing a 56-year-old passenger.

A 34-year-old man who was driving north in a different car was able to swerve and avoid the wrong-way driver's car, but he ended up hitting the overturned car of the woman first hit by the wrong-way driver, police said.

A 44-year-old New Jersey woman driving a fourth car approached the pileup and was also able to swerve to avoid the wrong-way driver, but she rammed into the third car driven by the 34-year-old man.

Another vehicle then came upon the accident and sideswiped the wrong-way driver's car.

The four injured were taken to area hospitals in serious and critical conditions.

All lanes were reopened in time for the Wednesday morning commute.

--Marc Santia contributed to this story

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