Crash between tractor-trailers kills two people on I-195; Victims identified

A van was crushed between two tractor-trailer trucks on Interstate 195 west in East Providence, Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017. (WJAR)

Rhode Island State Police announced that two people were killed Tuesday in a serious crash on Interstate 195 west in East Providence.

Col. Ann C. Assumpico later identified them as 40-year-old Steven Magan, of Palmer, Massachusetts, and 38-year-old Axel Moran, of Marlboro, Massachusetts. They were pronounced dead at the scene.

A box truck, which was driven by Magan, appeared to be crushed between two tractor-trailer trucks. Moran was in the passenger seat.

"In my 31 years with the department, this was probably one of the worst,” Battalion Chief John Kelahan of the East Providence Fire Department told NBC 10 News. “It was a very, very difficult scene."

A witness shared similar sentiments.

“It was unbelievable to see that truck on top of that truck,” Dave Satasin of Dudley, Massachusetts said. “It could be anybody.”

Satasin, who drives for a living, saw the aftermath of the crash. He said he was recently involved in an accident, so it really hit home for him.

“I just got out of a rear-end collision two weeks ago -- just got out of the hospital -- and then I see this,” he said. “It makes you wonder. You really don't want to drive the streets everyday anymore, at least not on the highways.”

The crash happened near exit 8 at about 10 a.m. when one of the tractor-trailer trucks and the box truck slowed for traffic, according to police.

“A second tractor-trailer truck collided with the rear of the box truck, forcing it into the back of the first tractor-trailer truck,” a press release noted.

The driver of the first tractor-trailer truck was not hurt, while the driver of the other tractor-trailer truck was transported to Rhode Island Hospital and treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

The box truck was marked Metropolitan Staple Corp., based in New Jersey.

The company's president told NBC 10 that state police informed him of the crash, but he did not want to comment about where the truck was going or who was in it.

Firefighters spent more than four hours at the scene, extricating the victims during what was described as an extensive and emotionally draining operation.

"On jobs that are really difficult for the members, we bring in somebody just so they can talk about it and we're going to do that this afternoon with the members,” Kelahan said.

The crash backed up traffic in the area for about five hours during the investigation, according to the release.

Meanwhile, Seekonk police said in a tweet that the crash also caused traffic on Fall River Avenue.

While the crash is under investigation, it was not immediately known if anyone will be charged.

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