Tonawanda News — LOCKPORT — New York State Police have identified James J. Silva, 60, of North Tonawanda as the victim of a fatal crash Tuesday on the Lockport Bypass.
Police said Silva was driving north on the Lockport Bypass just after noon Tuesday when he reportedly veered into the path of an oncoming Keworth dump truck. The two vehicles collided head on.
When troopers and emergency responders arrived on scene, the dump truck was off the roadway in a field while Silva’s pickup truck was in the center of the Bypass, engulfed in flames.
The sheer force of the impact caused Silva’s small pickup to burst into flames, according to State Police Public Information Officer Victor Morales. With a collision like that, fuel and oil only need a spark to become dangerous, he said.
“He hit the dump truck directly head on,” Morales said. “It was such a violent collision.”
Silva was pronounced dead at the scene. Witnesses said he may have been killed on impact, but Morales said that was hard to tell at this point. Authorities will perform an autopsy in the coming days to determine his cause of death.
Also, authorities don’t know what made Silva cross the median, Morales said.
“That’s what’s unusual, there doesn’t seem to be any reason for him to go across,” he said.
There wasn’t any sign that alcohol or any kind of impairment played a role. Authorities are unsure if a medical emergency is a possible cause and if they do determine one, it won’t be until they have a chance to look at the body, Morales said.
The dump truck driver, a 53-year-old Grand Island man, was not hurt and wasn’t charged.
The South Lockport Fire Co., the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office, the New York State Police Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Unit and Collision Reconstruction Unit responded to the accident scene. The Niagara County HAZMAT Team was called in to clean up any oil or fluids at the crash site.
Contact reporter Joe Olenick at 439-9222, ext. 6241 or follow him on Twitter @joeolenick.