A Portsmouth cruiser was totaled and its driver escaped injury by seconds. Police said he had just gotten out of the cruiser and vaulted over the jersey barrier an instant before the truck hit. The other cruisers were badly damaged as were other vehicles.
Deputy Police Chief Jeffrey Furtado said, ” At approximately 9:25 a.m., while two Portsmouth Police officers were investigating a motor vehicle accident in the southbound lanes of the Sakonnet River Bridge, the operator of a dump truck, who was approaching the scene, lost control of his truck. As a result, the dump truck forced a Tiverton police car into the jersey barrier and struck a total of six vehicles including two Portsmouth police cars.”
One man, a Newport resident, said that his pickup truck had been involved in an initial accident with another car at the Portsmouth end of the bridge. The police cruisers showed up and, moments later, they were struck by an East Coast Construction dump truck carrying a load of stone.
Traffic in the southbound lane was backed up toward Fall River as far as the eye could see.
The cause of the accident remains under investigation by the Rhode Island State Police.