David Massarotti, Chandra Massarotti, both from Richmondville, Died In A Car Accident With Dump Truck Hauling A Cement Mixer On I-287 eastbound (Cross Westchester Expressway); Joseph Digiovanni of Ridgefield, Connecticut Hospitalized After Collision
WESTCHESTER COUNTY, NEW YORK (August 21, 2021) – A married couple identified as David Massarotti and Chandra Massarotti have tragically died in a cement truck accident on the Cross Westchester Expressway.
New York police officials are saying that the accident took place just before 8:20 a.m. on Thursday. David Massarotti and Chandra Massarotti were in a 2005 Chevrolet Colorado pick-up truck which slowed due to traffic on the freeway.
A man from Ossining was driving a 2007 Chevrolet 4500 HD dump truck, hauling a cement mixer and approached the couple’s pickup from behind. But the cement truck driver was not able to slow down and rear-ended the Chevy carrying David Massarotti and Chandra Massarotti.
The force of the impact caused a chain-reaction crash which pushed the pickup truck into a 2014 Honda Accord Crosstour driven by Joseph Digiovanni, 42, of Ridgefield, Connecticut. The Honda was then pushed into a Chevrolet Express van driven by Daniel Moreno, 45, of White Plains.
That vehicle then struck the rear of a 2016 Jeep Cherokee driven by John Gruber, 60, of Cortlandt Manor. Firefighters and paramedics were called to the scene of the collision in order to help all of the victims.
There are currently no reports that either Daniel Moreno or John Gruber were seriously injured in the crash. An ambulance took Joseph Digiovanni to the White Plains Hospital in order to receive treatment for his injuries.
Tragically, David Massarotti and Chandra Massarotti were beyond medical help and pronounced dead at the scene by the Westchester County Medical Office. New York state police officials issued tickets to the 51-year-old dump truck driver involved in the crash.
A full investigation into the fatal Westchester County collision remains ongoing at this time. It remains unclear if the driver of the cement truck will receive any citations.
Liability In Harrison Cement Truck Accidents
Cement trucks are some of the heaviest vehicles on the road for their relative size. A cement truck alone can weigh anywhere between 20,000 – 30,000 lbs. The cement that gets added to the truck can weigh another 40,000 lbs. This makes cement trucks particularly dangerous for two reasons:
- Impact Velocity: Because dump trucks / cement trucks can weigh so much even a low impact collision can have devastating consequences. A cement truck that weighs 60,000 lbs and crashes at 30 mph produces the same force as a 5,000 lbs car that crashes at 360 mph!
- Stopping Distance: Because cement trucks are so heavy they can take a long time to come to a stop. A 60,000 lb cement truck traveling at 60 mph can take the length of two football fields to come to a complete stop. If a truck driver is unfamiliar with this they can easily cause an accident.
Rear-end collisions are among the most common type of accident that takes place in New York. They are also the most preventable. They are nearly always the result of speeding, driver distraction or following the lead vehicle too closely. In fact, there is a presumption of negligence in most situations on behalf of drivers that rear-end vehicles.
- Speeding: Drivers must exercise due care and follow the speed limit. In certain circumstances such as inclement weather or during heavy traffic driving the speed limit could be dangerous. These particular scenarios might require a driver to operate their vehicle well below the speed limit.
- Follow Distance: According to New York VTL § 1129(a), all drivers must not follow the lead vehicle more closely than what would be prudent under the prevailing conditions of the roadway.
- Distracted Driving: Drivers of commercial trucks can become distracted like everyone else. They may be focused on their GPS or they may fail to take notice of slowing traffic. The NHTSA estimates that 3,142 people were killed by distracted driving in 2019 alone.
Rarely is there ever one factor that causes a truck accident. The factors that could contribute to a fatal collision could take place hours, days, weeks or months prior to the collision. If a cement truck driver failed to operate their vehicle in a safe manner and caused an accident they could be held liable through a civil claim.
But depending on the facts of any case liability for a cement truck accident may extent beyond any driver. If the cement truck driver was working at the time of the collision their employer could be held liable as well. As a general principle, companies are vicariously liable for the negligent actions of their employees. This is normally true insofar as those employees were working within the course and scope of their job duties.
In rare circumstances, a mechanic or company responsible for the upkeep of a cement truck could be responsible for an accident. Cement trucks need regular maintenance to be safe. If the brakes aren’t regularly checked and they fail this could lead to a huge accident. Victims of cement truck collisions tend to suffer very serious and costly injuries including:
- Broken bones
- Head injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
Victims of dump truck collisions and their families are protected by a number of laws. For example, the family of any victim that died due to the negligence of a truck driver may be able to seek justice through a wrongful death claim. If a victim survives for a period prior to their death their family may also be able to pursue a survival action. Sadly, truck companies will often fight tooth and nail to deny responsibility for a crash. They may even try to thwart attempts to investigate their drivers. A cement truck accident attorney can examine all of the unique facts of your case free of cost and get to the bottom of what caused an accident. No family should ever have to struggle to find answers after a fatal collision.
Investigating A Westchester County Dump Truck Accident
We at Gersowitz Libo & Korek, P.C. extend our deepest condolences to the family of David Massarotti and Chandra Massarotti. It is our sincere hope that Joseph Digiovanni, John Gruber and Daniel Moreno will completely recover. This was a totally preventable and senseless tragedy that should have never taken place. There needs to be some accountability for the sake of all who have lost so much.
Any person that may be able to help shed light on what happened should contact the New York state police. There are so many questions that need to be answered. Why wasn’t the truck driver able to stop in time? What does their driving record look like? Did they have the proper licenses and certifications? Far too often expeditious trips are being prioritized over the safety of everyone on the roadways.