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Massive N.Y. pileup leaves one dead, 32 injured

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SHIRLEY, N.Y. (AP) — A massive traffic pileup on a major road left one person dead and 32 people injured on New York’s Long Island, with dozens of vehicles scattered around and some even catching on fire.

Police said the chaos on the eastbound Long Island Expressway in Shirley happened shortly before 3 p.m. on a bright, sunny Wednesday.

Aerial shots from News12 Long Island showed at least one tractor-trailer and several cars apparently damaged by fire. The roadway was closed between exits 65 and 69.

Several hours later, a tractor-trailer could still be seen smoldering. Cars faced in all directions, some with minor damage and others wrecked.

Authorities were investigating the cause.

Driver Danny Gershonowitz told Newsday that he was ahead of the accident when he saw two cars stop on the road shoulder.

“The gentleman to the right of me went down to the ground and was praying. When I looked in my rear view mirror, there was smoke and flames coming out,” he said.

He said he and others got the attention of the truck driver, and helped him as he climbed out of his smoking vehicle.

“Pretty soon, the whole front of the truck was engulfed in fire, and that’s when people started backing away,” he said. “The police came and asked everybody to run and get out of the way, because I guess they thought it would explode.”