Long ferry delays Thursday due to fatal crash in Southampton

AMBROSE CLANCY PHOTO | North Ferry traffic backed up on Wiggins Street as far as Sixth Street in Greenport late Thursday morning. A fatal accident on route 39 in Southampton caused delays.

A fatal accident Thursday morning on Route 39 in Tuckahoe has both South and North ferry services scrambling to keep up with an unexpected heavy traffic flow as drivers choose Shelter Island to get to and from the Hamptons.

Southampton Police haven’t released the name of the woman killed in the crash, butLieutenant Larry Schurek said there were two vehicles involved in the accident that occurred at 7:05 a.m. on Route 39 at St. Andrews Road.

As soon as next of kin are notified, Lieutenant Schurek said police would provide that information. The 27East website reported that a Hampton Ambassador bus, part of the Hampton Jitney fleet, and an SUV were involved in the accident and that it was the driver of the SUV who was killed. The driver of the bus and the attendant are being treated at Southampton Hospital, but there was no report on the extent of their injuries. There were no passengers on the Jitney at the time of the accident, according to 27East.

A Southampton Volunteer Fire Department official said the driver was alone in the small SUV that was eastbound and veered into the westbound lane, striking the Jitney that was westbound. She was declared dead at the scene.

Traffic was shut down in both directions between Tuckahoe Lane and Tuckahoe Road, although Lieutenant Schurek said early this afternoon one eastbound lane had been reopened and he expected a second eastbound lane to be opened shortly. Other traffic was being diverted to Montauk Highway.

“They’re using the Shelter Island bridge,” said Tanya Larkins at South Ferry about drivers who have diverted their travel to and from the South Fork by using the two ferry services. South Ferry president Cliff Clark and his son-in-law, Nick Morehead were unavailable as Mr. Morehead’s wife — Mr. Clark’s daughter — Paige gave birth to a baby this morning. Bill Clark was aboard one of the South Ferry boats, Ms. Larkins said.

At North Ferry, Julie Ben-Susan reported that five boats instead of the usual three at this time of day have been deployed and that North Ferry has been moving about 200 vehicles an hour.

“We’re doing all we can,” Ms. Ben-Susan said. She estimated the wait in Greenport at about 20 minutes early this afternoon.