MAMARONECK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- Two drivers were critically hurt in a fiery three-vehicle crash along Interstate 95 in Westchester County early Wednesday morning.
The crashed happened around 1:15 a.m. in a southbound lane near exit 18A in Mamaroneck.
A 26-year-old woman and 27-year-old man, both from the Bronx, were hurt in the chain-reaction crash that state police say could have been avoided.
Investigators told CBS2's Brian Conybeare the man's SUV was disabled on the shoulder – out of traffic. The woman came to help, but stopped her Toyota in the right lane on a curve along the busy highway.
It turned out to be a nearly fatal mistake.
A tractor-trailer slammed into the back of the Toyota, sending it into the SUV, which then hit the two drivers standing in front of their vehicles.
"You never want to stop in the lane. There's cars behind you, potentially doing 55 miles an hour, 60 miles an hour," said Mike Wuestenhoefer, owner of A.P.O.W. Towing.
He's been helping motorists for 25 years and recommends you pull off on the right shoulder, not the left. Stay in your vehicle. Or if you have to get out, climb over the guardrail away from traffic. Lastly, get professional help instead of calling a friend.
"The first thing you should do is call 911, especially on a highway. They're going to get either a police cruiser out to you or they will get a trained professional and a tow operator out to you, so that they can take care of the situation promptly and safely," said Wuestenhoefer.
Both victims – identified as Alwin Martinez and Yessenia Camacho -- were rushed to Jacobi Medical Center with potentially life-threatening injuries.
The driver of the tractor-trailer was not hurt and police say he was not ticketed.
Police had closed I-95 south in the area for a time, but the roadway has since reopened. To check current traffic condition, click here.
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