WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. --- The New York State Police is seeking help from Westchester residents and members of the public who were in the vicinity of Tuesday’s fatal wrong-way crash in the village of Suffern on the New York State Thruway.
Witnesses of any events leading up to the crash are being asked to contact investigators at SP Haverstraw by dialing 845-364-0200.
At about 6:54 a.m. on Aug. 12, NYS Thruway communications received reports of a blue pickup truck traveling southbound on the northbound lanes of Interstate 87 by exit 15 in Suffern, according to police. Afterward, Thruway dispatch received calls of a two-vehicle collision at mpm 29.5. Troopers responded to encounter the vehicle collision at the scene with its drivers and sole occupants deceased.
A preliminary investigation revealed that Richard E. Christopher, 32, of Suffern, was driving a 2002 Dodge Dakota southbound in the northbound lanes of I-87 before colliding head on with a 2003 Honda CRV operated by James B. DeVito, 59, of Airmont, N.Y. Both drivers were pronounced dead at the scene.
Christopher was a member of the New York City Police Department who was off-duty at the time of the collision, according to New York State Police.
One witness has reported seeing a vehicle fitting the description of Christopher’s vehicle parked facing southbound in the median of I-87 shortly before calls were received that a vehicle was traveling southbound on northbound lanes. Other witnesses have reported observing a vehicle fitting the description of Christopher’s vehicle make a u-turn on I-87, northbound in the area of the I-287 overpass, about 1.5 miles north of the accident scene.
The investigation into the crash is continuing with the assistance of the New York State Police Collision Reconstruction unit and the State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation.