The elderly driver whom State Police said triggered a horrific crash on Interstate 495 late Wednesday allegedly made a U-turn on the highway and drove the wrong way down the northbound side for several miles before striking two cars, a preliminary investigation has found.
State Police said Arnold Reda, 84, of Foxborough, was driving a Toyota Camry north on I-495 when he allegedly reversed direction near Exit 13 in Mansfield and began driving south in the northbound lanes. He struck a Mercedes-Benz GL450 with four people inside before hitting a Lincoln Town Car with two people inside just north of Exit 9 in Taunton around 11:13 p.m., police said.
Reda was pronounced dead at the site of the crash. Five of the six people who were in the other two cars were taken to hospitals with injuries that were not considered life-threatening, State Police said in a statement.
One of the two cars that Reda hit caught on fire, according to the Taunton Fire Department.
The driver of the Mercedez-Benz, a 56-year-old man, and one of his passengers, a 42-year-old woman, were taken to Rhode Island Hospital. The other two passengers, 12- and 10-year-old boys, were taken to Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Providence. They are all from Foxborough, police said.
The driver of the Lincoln, a 58-year-old woman from Weymouth, was not injured, but her passenger, a 27-year-old woman from Foxborough, was taken to Sturdy Memorial Hospital for treatment, police said.
I-495 northbound was closed to traffic for several hours while police investigated. Traffic was re-routed off the highway at Exit 9.
State Police are continuing to investigate the crash. Norton police and fire, Taunton police, Easton fire, Brewster Ambulance Service, and state transportation crews also responded to the scene.
Correction: Due to inaccurate information provided to the Globe, this report initially stated that the elderly driver’s car had caught fire.Andres Picon can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @andpicon.