An auto wreck on the Brooklyn Bridge killed one person and injured six Wednesday, and sparked a fire that engulfed three vehicles and cut off a key New York City artery at the start of the morning commuting rush on one of the busiest travel days of the year.
The fiery 7 a.m. crash on the Brooklyn-bound side of the bridge sent a column of black smoke rising above the landmark span. Motorists blocked by the wreck got out their cars to watch a swarm of firefighters work to extinguish the blaze.
The entire bridge was closed to traffic for about an hour. Major traffic tie-ups continued to spill onto surrounding roads as it was reopened, beginning with the Manhattan-bound lanes.
Photographs posted by bystanders on social media showed the charred hulks of three vehicles and a fourth a few strides away with body damage.
The wreck happened on a portion of the bridge over land on the Brooklyn side of the East River, near where drivers turn on to exit ramps and surface roads. The fire was a few feet from a spot where throngs of tourists enter the bridge’s pedestrian and cycling path.
NYPD reported that a 2004 Ford pick-up was traveling Brooklyn bound on the bridge when it rear-ended a 2017 Nissan, which caused the Nissan to strike the center median. After the initial collision, the Ford rear-ended a 2017 Volkswagon, which caused the Volkswagon to strike the southside cement barrier and then caught fire. The Volkswagon then rear-ended a fourth vehicle, a 2006 GMC SUV, which struck a 2003 GMC SUV, which then struck the rear of a 2010 Jeep Liberty.
The deceased was identified as 32-year-old Kristopher Hambas of Scarsdale, NY, who was the operator of the 2017 Volkswagon. He was found unconscious and unresponsive, and was pronounced deceased at the scene.
The 48-year-old driver of the Ford pick-up truck and a 51-year-old driver of the 2006 GMC SUV were removed to Brooklyn Hospital with minor injuries.