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Motorist charged with homicide for fiery Connecticut bridge crash that killed fuel tanker driver

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Connecticut State Police (CSP) filed charges against a motorist involved in a fiery fuel tanker truck crash that claimed the life of a truck driver last year.

On April 24, 2024, Reginald Collins, 59, turned himself into CSP on charges of negligent homicide with a motor vehicle, operating an unregistered motor vehicle, illegal operation of a motor vehicle without minimum insurance, and improper parking.

The charges were filed in connection with a crash that occurred around 11:20 a.m. on April 21, 2023, on I-95 southbound on the Gold Star Bridge in Groton, Connecticut.

Troopers say that Collins was operating a Toyota Avalon southbound on I-95 when one of the tires went flat. After the tire failed, Collins drove the Toyota across the left acceleration lane into the right acceleration lane and came to a stop in that lane of traffic.

A tanker truck was transporting home heating fuel south on I-95 when it struck the rear of the stopped Toyota, then rolled over.

The crash resulted in a massive fire that consumed the tanker truck and the Toyota and damaged parts of the bridge.

The tanker truck driver died at the scene.

Collins and a passenger suffered non life-threatening injuries.

Collins later told police that he’d had four used tires fitted onto the Toyota at 10 a.m. on April 21. He said he drove the Toyota onto the bridge to test the tires when “the car’s steering felt funny and the car began to jump.” He said that he moved the car into the far right lane and got out to see that the front driver’s side tire was shredded. Collins said he made a phone call, then got back in the Toyota, and that the truck hit the car seconds later.

CSP investigators say that the tanker driver did not have a hazmat endorsement and should not have been hauling the heating fuel, but that the lack of endorsement “does not negate the role that Collins had in failing to perceive a substantial and unjustifiable risk by stopping [Toyota Avalon] in the right lane of travel on Interstate 95.”

Police further determined that the tanker driver attempted evasive maneuvers to avoid the Toyota by applying the brakes and steering left.

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