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Amber Alert

Thursday, January 10, 2008

71-year-old charged in crash that closed I-95

A 71-year-old woman tried to wedge her vehicle between a tractor trailer and a car tonight, causing a three-vehicle accident that injured two people, including herself, while closing 1-95 for about 45 minutes, police said. The accident caused traffic in the southbound lanes of I-95 to back up for about a mile. Some drivers switched off their engines and got out of their cars temporarily.

Delaware State Police said they charged Juana Hernandez of Wilmington with careless driving and unsafe lane change after the 5:50 p.m. crash. Witnesses reported that Hernandez was driving a GMC Sierra in the left lane and tried to enter the center lane ahead of the truck, which was behind a 2004 Mazda MX6, driven by Robert Vanderdecker, 25, of Wilmington, police said.

The SUV struck the Mazda, which then hit another car adjacent to it, a 2007 Toyota Corolla, driven by Usha Sonaji or Newark. The SUV flipped over and landed on the drivers side.

Hernandez was pinned to the ground inside the vehicle after her arm got stuck. An off-duty Wilmington firefighter stopped and used his car jack to elevate the SUV. Hernandez and Vanderdecker were taken to Christiana Hospital and treated for non-life threatening injuries.

The accident happened on I-95 south in the area of Frawley Stadium. The SUV blocked traffic in two lanes for 45 minutes. Drivers attempting to enter an on ramp from Wilmington were seen backing onto Maryland Avenue to avoid traffic. Source