Westbound traffic along Sunrise Highway in Hampton Bays came to a halt for nearly an hour on Sunday evening as authorities investigated a two-car accident on the other side of the highway, which resulted in one of the vehicles crossing the grassy median and coming to rest on its roof in the westbound lanes.
The accident occurred at around 6 p.m., and one of the drivers had to be airlifted to the hospital for the treatment of non-life-threatening injuries, according to New York State Police.
Eileen Sullivan, 53, of Oakdale was driving in the right eastbound lane in her 2006 Dodge Caravan when she clipped the front side of a 2005 Ford Crown Victoria being driven by 29-year-old Winston Polanco of Montauk, according to State Trooper Kevin Drew.
The collision caused Ms. Sullivan’s vehicle to roll over on the center median before coming to a rest in the westbound side of the highway. Mr. Polanco’s car, meanwhile, spun out and ended up in the woods off the south side of the road, Trooper Drew said.
Ms. Sullivan was airlifted to Stony Brook University Hospital by a Suffolk County Medevac helicopter, where she was treated for serious injuries, authorities said. Mr. Polanco did not receive medical treatment, Trooper Drew said.
Authorities said they could not confirm where the helicopter landed, or if that contributed to the delay in reopening the westbound lanes.
No criminal charges have been filed in relation to the incident, Trooper Drew said. “Nothing criminal at all, just a straight-up accident,” he added.
Rene Plessner of New York City said he was a passenger in a car traveling behind Ms. Sullivan when she accidentally hit the car ahead of her. Mr. Plessner, who was heading to a party in East Hampton at the time, said he saw the minivan roll off the road and, moments later, observed Mr. Polanco’s car dart in front of the vehicle he was riding in.
“I was in the right lane and, suddenly, in the left lane a car went onto the divide, and flipped and smoke started billowing out of that car,” he said. “I’d say it couldn’t have been more than a few seconds when, suddenly, I saw a second car coming from … the left side and it darted across maybe a 100 feet in front of me and continued off right into the woods.”
The driver of his car managed to avoid the accident, according to Mr. Plessner.
Westbound traffic was rerouted through Exit 65 for between 30 and 45 minutes while the accident was cleared. Trooper Drew said the road was able to reopen so quickly because it was not a fatal crash.
The Southampton Town Police and Hampton Bays Fire Department also responded to the scene.