Fatal Tractor-Trailer Crash on GWB Snarls Traffic for Hours

Manhattan-bound lanes on the George Washington Bridge's upper level were closed for hours Thursday morning after a tractor-trailer crashed into another, killing one person and causing miles-long backups on roads leading to the span. 

The tractor-trailers crashed shortly before 2:30 a.m., blocking the upper deck's eastbound lanes, according to the Port Authority. An agency spokesman said the driver of one truck apparently rear-ended the other.

Joao Daponta, 59, of North Plainfield, N.J., was driving the rear truck, said Port Authority of New York and New Jersey spokesman Joe Pentangelo, and died when the vehicle became wedged under the other truck's trailer. The driver in the lead truck was emotionally shaken and was taken to a hospital for evaluation of minor injuries, said Port Authority Police Capt. Ron Shindel.

The second driver's name was not immediately released and the cause of the crash remained under investigation.

The eastbound lanes on the bridge's upper level reopened hours later, just before noon. Earlier, delays to the bridge had climbed up to three hours. 

All lanes on the lower level and the upper level's westbound side were open, but there were heavy delays to those lanes as well.

"Avoid the bridge at all costs," a Port Authority spokesman said during rush hour.

Bus service to and from the George Washington Bridge Terminal was also plagued by delays, according to NJ Transit, and delays of up to two hours were reported at the inbound Lincoln and Holland tunnels. 

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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