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One death reported after multi-vehicle Thruway pileup

Eileen Buckley

(AP, WBFO & WXXI) State police say one person has died and one is seriously injured after several crashes involving numerous vehicles on the snowy New York State Thruway east of Buffalo on Tuesday afternoon.

Troopers say all lanes were blocked between Exit 50 and Exit 48A at Pembroke going into the evening rush hour Tuesday.

Trooper Michael Cassella in Albany says 15 to 25 cars and 10 tractor-trailers were involved in a series of collisions starting shortly before 2 p.m. Tuesday. He says weather was a contributing factor.

Troopers say the fatality happened when a tractor trailer traveling east on the Thruway in Cheektowaga came to an abrupt stop because of an accident up ahead. 64 year old Edward Torres of Elba, NY was behind the trailer and couldn’t stop in time.  He later was pronounced dead at a Buffalo area hospital. Police say a number of people suffered minor injuries, one of them remains in serious condition as of Wednesday morning.

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said seven volunteer fire departments were at the scene and hundreds of cars were backed up. The number of vehicles actually involved in accidents was said to be at least a couple of dozen, with some reports saying up to 75 vehicles were involved.

Gusty winds with blowing and drifting snow prompted blizzard warnings for a while late Tuesday afternoon in northern Erie County.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.