Waterbury police have identified the two people killed in a crash Friday morning.

According to dispatchers, it happened just before 8 a.m. at East Aurora Street and the Route 8 north off-ramp for exit 35.

Officials said Watertown Avenue was closed at East Aurora Street because of the crash, along with the off-ramp.

Surveillance video captured the moment a pickup truck and a car collided at the intersection.

Police said the driver of the white pickup truck, identified as 32-year-old Zachary Lessard, was taken to St. Mary's Hospital with a head injury but later released. However, both the driver and the passenger in the car were killed. They have been identified as 73-year-old Katherine Wadman of Waterbury and her passenger 25-year-old Samantha Mallette of Watertown.

"It's a very difficult scene for the first responders, the firemen, the officers, and it's going to take quite a bit of work to unravel it," said Waterbury's Deputy Police Chief Fred Spagnolo.

One man who owns an autobody shop near by exclusively told Eyewitness News that the intersection is dangerous and he's seen dozens of crashes over the years.

"I was bent down alongside the car I was working on, and I heard this loud explosion, which didn't sound like a normal car accident, the metal crushing," said Bill Cass, an eyewitness who works near the scene. "It sounded like a bomb going off. When I got outside, I saw that truck spinning to a stop and the car had already come to stop over there."

Firefighters said they were on the scene for about 30 minutes before police took over the investigation.

There's no word on a cause.

Following Eyewitness News's noon broadcast, police said they expected to remain on the scene for several more hours.

They advised drivers to take an alternate route.

Ten years ago, a Waterbury firefighter was killed when an engine truck smashed into a ladder truck at this same intersection while responding to a call.

"State has already spent a ton of money on this thing, new light systems, traffic lights, new this, new that and nothing changes. It just keeps continuing on,” Cass said. “It’s a horrible intersection, something needs to be done."

While police investigate, they say drivers can start by slowing down and using caution.

"There have been a number of fatalities through my 25 years here. It’s as bad as any other intersection. I don't really believe there is any danger here as far as the traffic pattern. I think it’s a matter of its heavily congested, and unfortunately at times, it's traveled at a high rate of speed,” Spagnolo said.

Police said both vehicles involved were towed and the investigation is still on-going at this time. No charges have been filed.

Copyright 2017 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


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