Driver dies when truck flips, pierced by I-95 guardrail
The driver of a truck that flipped on its side and skidded into the guardrail on Interstate 95, near northbound Exit 23, Thursday morning died from his injuries.
The truck driver -- identified as John Collett, 32, of Wallingford -- had just dropped off a refuse container at the McDonald's restaurant at the Post Road traffic circle before traveling west to North Benson Road, where he got on the highway headed north shortly before 10 a.m., according to police Lt. James Perez.
Perez said that, according to witnesses, the arms of the roll-off truck, registered to John's Refuse & Recycling of Northford, were in an upright position when the driver approached the highway's Meadowbrook Road overpass near Exit 23. The arms got caught on the overpass, tearing off the top of the vehicle, Perez said.
The truck flipped onto its side and skidded into the guardrail, and a piece of the railing pierced the truck's cab.
When firefighters arrived on the scene, fire Lt. Patrick Barry said the truck driver was trapped and unresponsive inside the cab of the roll-off truck. Firefighters used heavy equipment to remove the roof the truck cab, cut back the guard rail and gain access to Collett, who was taken to Bridgeport Hospital, where he later died from his injuries, police said.
Two other vehicles were struck during the mishap, but State Police said the drivers suffered no apparent injuries.
"I have never seen steel guardrail wrapped around inside a vehicle like it had in this incident," Assistant Fire Chief George Gomola said, circumstances that resulted in a "very difficult extrication." He said firefighters did an "amazing job" removing Collett from the wrecked truck.
The accident slowed traffic on the highway for about two hours, and the overpass was reduced to a single land to allow inspection by the state Department of Transportation. Overflow traffic also tied up local roads.
The accident is under investigation by State Police, with the assistance of the Fairfield Police Department's accident investigation team.