Police: Driver was alert in NY crash that killed 6

By the Associated Press | July 20, 2012 | 5:44 PM EDT

New York State Troopers investigate the scene of a fiery chain-reaction crash in a roadwork zone on Route 11 Thursday, July 19, 2012 in Antwerp, N.Y. Police say a tractor-trailer driven by James A. Mills Jr. of Myerstown, Pa., struck several vehicles that had slowed or stopped on the road. Five died in one SUV. They're identified as 42-year-old Laurie Dana of Lawrence; her daughters, 14-year-old Catelyn and 11-year-old Lauren; 69-year-old Janet Dana; and 14-year-old Shannon Planty. Police say another driver, 59-year-old Maryann Gregory of Dickinson Center, died at a hospital. (AP Photo/The Watertown Daily Times, Amanda Morrison) SYRACUSE OUT

ANTWERP, N.Y. (AP) — Police in northern New York say the driver of a truck that started a chain-reaction crash in a work zone that left six dead was alert moments before it happened.

State Police Investigator Rick Hathaway says the tractor-trailer driven by 45-year-old James A. Mills Jr., of Myerstown, Pa., struck several vehicles Thursday.

The line of cars had slowed or stopped where paving was being done on a rural stretch of highway. Five people, including four from the same family, died in an SUV that burst into flames. A state transportation worker whose truck caught on fire was in critical condition, and a woman whose SUV flipped over died at a hospital.

Hathaway says the early investigation shows Mills wasn't texting or talking on his cellphone before the crash.