SALEM, N.H. — A preliminary investigation by New Hampshire State Police indicates a "mechanical issue" was a factor in the Wednesday afternoon crash on the southbound side of Interstate 93 in which three people were injured.
The driver of the box truck involved in the collision, Luis Oscar Ruiz, 45, of Central Falls, Rhode Island, was flown to Massachusetts General Hospital with serious injuries, according to the Salem Fire Department. Ruiz was trapped inside his vehicle for more than a half hour before he was extricated by Salem firefighters.
Chaka Puckerin, 42, of Lowell, Massachusetts, was driving a landscaping truck that was towing a wood chipper when he "experienced some type of mechanical issue and began to slow down rapidly," according to a New Hampshire State Police press release.
The wood chipper was struck from behind by a 2013 Hino box truck driven by Ruiz. State troopers shut down the entire southbound side of Interstate 93 so the helicopter could land and take Ruiz to Mass General. Three lanes of the highway were closed while troopers investigated.
A Salem Fire Department ambulance transported Puckerin to Holy Family Hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries. An unidentified passenger in the box truck was taken to Lawrence General Hospital.
Troopers from B and G barracks responded to the accident at around 1:20 p.m. The crash happened just north of Exit 1.
The landscaping truck went over the guardrail and into the sound barrier on the right side of the highway, state police said. The wood chipper stayed in the breakdown lane.
The box truck sustained heavy front damage.
State police are still investigating the crash. Anyone with information about the accident is asked to contact Trooper Patrick Randall at 603-223-8844 or Patrick.firstname.lastname@example.org.