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Rte. 20, bridge escape major damage after fiery crash

Submitted photo The remnants of a fuel truck are pictured Tuesday afternoon along Route 20 in the town of Sheridan. Repairs to the concrete deck surface will be made “in the near future,” the state Department of Transportation said.

SHERIDAN — A portion of Route 20 in the town of Sheridan escaped major damage following a fiery, multi-vehicle crash earlier this week.

Certified welders with the New York State Department of Transportation were at the scene of the crash Tuesday. According to Susan Surdej, state DOT regional public information officer, crews made repairs to a section of the guiderail on Route 20 that was impacted when a pickup truck and fuel tanker collided, causing a massive fire when the vehicles came to rest on the overpass to Interstate 90.

Photographs of intense flames and lots of black smoke were widely shared on social media.

The driver of the tanker was airlifted by helicopter to Erie County Medical Center in Buffalo for treatment of burns and other injuries. The driver of the pickup was transported by ambulance to Brooks Memorial Hospital in Dunkirk.

Due to the crash and its location, the eastbound lane of the interstate was briefly closed to traffic while Route 20 remained closed for several hours.

In addition to guiderail repairs, Surdej said damaged sections of a chain link snow fence on the overpass were removed and “will be replaced in time for this year’s snow and ice season.”

See CRASH, Page A3

She said the concrete deck surface in the southbound travel lane of Route 20 was “slightly impacted” in the fiery crash and will be repaired shortly.

Meanwhile, the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office was attempting to locate the driver of a van involved in Tuesday’s crash, which occurred around 9:45 a.m. It is believed a tire came off the van and struck the tanker, hauling about 100 gallons of diesel fuel, before the tanker collided with the pickup.

The van reportedly continued driving after losing the tire.

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