Truckers violating a travel ban and causing a crash could face assault and reckless endangerment charge the Governor earlier had warned of crackdown on violators.
The ban on tractor trailers and commercial buses on the New York State Thruway in Western New York because of hazardous weather conditions has been lifted.
The New York State Thruway Authority lifted the travel ban on Interstate 90 from Exit 46 to the Pennsylvania state line just after 9:30 p.m. Thursday.
Earlier in the day, Gov. Andrew Cuomo gave a stern warning to any truckers or bus drivers violating the ban. On Thursday morning, he said state police would crack down on truckers who violated the travel ban on the western section of the Thruway after a tractor-trailer crash was blamed for causing a major pile-up during severe weather.
Speaking Thursday morning near Buffalo, Cuomo said truckers who violate the ban and cause a crash could be charged with reckless endangerment and assault as well as be ticketed.
"Under the penal law, there could be a crime under section 120 for reckless endangerment and assault, so we are not kidding around," Cuomo said.
The ban prohibited tractor-trailers and buses from traveling Interstate 90 between Rochester and the Pennsylvania border. Troopers pulled trucks off the road Thursday morning, stopping them from getting on at the LeRoy Thruway entrance and going west.
Cuomo says a tractor-trailer whose driver ignored the ban jackknifed west of Rochester Wednesday afternoon, causing a 19-vehicle pileup on the eastbound lanes between Batavia and Le Roy that injured several people, including a state trooper injured when a tractor trailer slammed into her car, lodging her between two tractor trailers. Fire officials said her seatbelt likely saved Trooper Dominique Wilson's life.
Fire officials also said two other people were seriously injured and about half a dozen people sustained minor injuries.
Both of the tractor-trailer drivers involved — Richard Magezi, 41, of Fort Worth, Texas and Michael Lambert, 54, of Hartford, Connecticut were ticketed for disobeying a traffic control device, speed not reasonable and prudent, following too closely, and driving across hazard markings.
Officials say local driving bans remain in effect in parts of the Buffalo area.
Rowena Duvall, a trucker from Miami, Florida, became worked up Thursday when she learned that the state decided to continue the ban on tractor trailers and buses to avoid another pileup on the Thruway.
"If it's not safe for us and the buses, it's not safe for cars either," Duvall said. She has to deliver a load to Georgia by Saturday, so she's a little ahead of schedule.
"I've been out here 10 years. It's been worse conditions than this," she said. "The thing about it, you're stopping the cars to avoid us hitting them. They hit us also. It's not just us, it's them."
The Le Roy Fire District was the first agency to respond to the Thruway Wednesday.
Chief Tom Wood agreed with the governor's ban.
"Nobody should have been out on the roads whether it was truck, cars anything," he said.