Eyewitnesses: Truck driver in deadly pileup was speeding

The investigation into yesterday's deadly 35-vehicle pileup on the Long Island Expressway is yielding new information about the tractor-trailer that was involved.

The driver of the tractor-trailer, 42-year-old Raymond Simoneau, was not injured in the crash.

The driver of the tractor-trailer, 42-year-old Raymond Simoneau, was not injured in the crash. (12/20/12)

YAPHANK - The investigation into yesterday's deadly 35-vehicle pileup on the Long Island Expressway is yielding new information about the tractor-trailer that was involved.

Eyewitnesses tell News 12 Long Island that the driver of the tractor-trailer, 42-year-old Raymond Simoneau, was speeding before the crash.

Police say Simoneau had a valid New Hampshire driver's license. The truck belongs to Jewell Transport, which is headquartered in Claremont, N.H.

Jewel Transport's headquarters used to be located in White River Junction, Vermont. According to the Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles, the company has had problems in the past. News 12 Long Island has learned that Jewell Transport has been slapped with 14 violations in 2012. At one point, the company was facing suspension because of two unpaid tickets for overweight vehicles and trucks that were not inspected.

Police say a safety check was performed on the big-rig, but they are not releasing any details from that inspection while the investigation continues.

Investigators say Simoneau had been carting a load of Sandy debris from Eisenhower Park out to Riverhead. He was not hurt.

It's still unclear what caused the chain-reaction crash, but police say it involved 35 vehicles, several of which caught fire. Suffolk police say 68-year-old Christa Zepf, of Blue Point, was killed in the crash and 33 others were injured.

To watch an eyewitness account of Wednesday's accident, click on News 12 Extra on Optimum TV channel 612. 

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