Local Racing Personalities Walk Away From Nasty Highway Crash Saturday

The Waddell Communications van and trailer turned on its side on Interstate 84 west in Southington Saturday morning (Photo: Courtesy Shawn Waddell)

A planned trip to Riverhead Raceway to attend the Islip 300 got turned upside down quite literally Saturday morning for Waddell Communications owner Shawn Waddell and Tri-Track Open Modified Series managing partner Ed Bennett.

Waddell, a longtime spotter for many drivers locally, is known as the guy who keeps people out of wrecks on the race track, but Saturday he had no warning when he was the one getting wrecked. 

Waddell and Bennett were traveling on Interstate 84 west in Southington at about 5 a.m. Saturday with Waddell driving his business van trailing his Waddell Communications trailer, which is a regular site at most local racing venues during events. 

The trailer was slammed from behind by a Toyota Tundra in which the driver had apparently fallen asleep at the wheel. The impact from the hit turned Waddell’s van and trailer on its side driver side. The van and trailer traveled about 500 feet on its side before coming to a stop partially off the highway. 

“I had just got on the highway,” Waddell said. “I hadn’t even gone a mile on the highway. … He didn’t hit me square, he hit me in the right rear and that got the trailer getting all jacked up already. And he never lifted. We were just lucky that nobody came behind us and cleaned us out.”

Waddell, Bennett and the other driver involved all walked away from the wreck unharmed. 

“I feel lucky and very fortunate, but I feel so bad for Shawn,” Bennett said. “… We slid approximately 500 feet and stopped about 10 feet short of a rock wall. I’m just really glad we’re not injured.”

Said Waddell: “We were just on our journey to Riverhead, I was going there to conduct some business and spot for my buddy Ryan Preece and that didn’t happen. The guy fell asleep at the wheel and rear-ended me.”

The Waddell Communications van and trailer on its side on Interstate 84 west in Southington Saturday morning (Photo: Courtesy Shawn Waddell)
The Waddell Communications van after it was righted by crews Saturday morning in Southington (Photo: Courtesy Shawn Waddell)
The side of the Waddell Communications van after crews turned it back upright Saturday morning (Photo: Courtesy Shawn Waddell)


  1. Glad to see they walked away from that. Hope both end up being ok with no long term effects.

  2. Glad Shawn and Ed are ok! That’s a scary looking ride. 😳

  3. Kurt Mitchell says

    Glad you both are ok

  4. Geez, 2020 is relentless.

  5. Most of us take driving for granted, we just hop in our cars, go to work, groceries or family time or an event we want to attend, but you never know WHO else is out there ASLEEP, ON MEDS, ON ILLEGAL MEDS, Drunk or just not paying attention!

  6. John S Piekarczyk says

    Shawn glad you and Ed are ok. Been a tough year for you. Want me to set you up with another Sprinter?
    Know most of the dealers from when I was President of the MB club.

    John P

  7. Not a lot of good news today. Happy to hear everyone made it out of this one in good shape. I hope you guys arent too soar today from that nasty ride.

  8. Wmass, there was no mention of drugs in the article, but it is a possibility . Did the guy really fall asleep, we will never know. You mentioned Drugs both legal and illegal, both possibilities. Another scenario, texting while driving. Statisticaly texting is the cause of more accidents than operating impaired due to drugs, and runs a close second to drunk driving. Falling asleep is the #1 excuse
    The most important part is that Shawn and Ed along with the other driver were able to walk away. Although all 3 probably have their share of bumps and bruises. The vehicles, and equipment can be replaced, unfortunately you can’t come back from dead

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