A FedEx truck driver who was about a quarter mile away from the end of his route Monday night suffered critical injuries after smashing his truck into a tractor-trailer on route 17 South in Mahwah, Police Chief Jim Batelli said.
At about 8:05 p.m. Monday night, a flatbed tractor-trailer was pulling into the Pilot gas station on Route 17 when the FedEx truck traveling at “highway speed” hit its back right corner, Batelli said.
The FedEx driver, Sean Sevasta, 26, of Suffern, N.Y. - who police said had no packages in his truck and was headed to the Fed Ex depot less than a mile down Route 17 - was pinned inside his truck, Batelli said. He was removed by Mahwah Fire Department Companies 1 and 2 and Mahwah EMS, and airlifted to Hackensack University Medical Center with “critical injuries,” Batelli said.
According to Mahwah Lt. Stuart Blank, Sevasta suffered "multiple fractures to his lower extremities. A section of the trailer...was impaled the front of the Federal Express van, adding to the severity of the injuries."
As of 10:50 p.m., Blank said Sevasta was in "stable but guarded condition," at HUMC, and was awaiting surgery.
The damage to the delivery truck was significant, implying it was driving at a high speed when it hit the tractor-trailer, Batelli said.
The tractor-trailer driver, John P. Blalock, 43 of Cleveland, Tex., complained of back injuries after the accident, but did not suffer any major injuries, police said.
“We believe [Blalock] had a signal on and possibly emergency flashers,” as he was turning into the Pilot, Batelli said. “At this point, we don’t know why the [Sevasta] didn’t see the tractor-trailer. It is a well-lit stretch of 17.”
Police are continuing to investigate the accident in an attempt to determine why the driver could not detect that the truck was slowing and preparing to turn off the highway, Batelli said.
The two right lanes of the highway were shut for almost two hours, police said.