Two truck drivers killed in separate crashes on same Queens road mourned by families

Luiz C. Ribeiro/New York Daily News/TNS

Two long-time tractor-trailer drivers who were killed in separate Queens crashes just a mile apart were mourned by their families Thursday.

Chad Hallenbeck, 49, and Stephen Roy Bennington, 50, died Wednesday in the Maspeth crashes.

In the first crash, the driver of a Chevy sedan swerved over the double-yellow line on Grand Ave. near 57th St.

Hallenbeck had just stepped out of his rig when the out-of-control car slammed into him. He died at the scene.

The 43-year-old woman Chevy driver was taken to Elmhurst Hospital to be treated for minor injuries.

She did not immediately face charges as investigators determined why she lost control of the car.

Hallenbeck, of East Durham, N.Y., had nine children ranging from 1-year-old twins to a 23-year-old, his devastated son told the Daily News.

“He’s definitely a family man, worked hard for his kids,” said Matthew Hallenbeck. “He’s a country guy, liked working on his equipment and hunting and spending time with his family.”

Chad Hallenbeck drove trucks for over 25 years.

“He’d go all over — Georgia, down south, out west,” his son said. “He was into making silly faces and talking in weird voices. He was a very animated guy.”

About eight hours later, Stephen Roy Bennington, 50, lost control of his truck on Grand Ave. near Borden Ave., police said.

Bennington, of Croydon, Pa., crashed into a street pole and suffered trauma to his body around 10:40 a.m. Wednesday.

He was taken to Elmhurst Hospital, but he could not be saved.

“I tried calling my dad and talked to a detective — he answered my dad’s phone,” said Hailey Byrne, Bennington’s daughter.

Officials said the driver may have suffered a medical episode before the crash.

“We’re still figuring that all out right now, waiting for the autopsy,” said Byrne. “We’re just trying to take it a day at a time.”

Byrne described her father as a life-long “working man” who had been driving tractor trailers for about 20 years.

“He’s a great person all around,” said Byrne. “A great smile, just lit up a room. Never seemed down,”

Bennington leaves behind five children, ranging from ages 15 to 29, and a 2-year-old grandson.

“Very selfless,” Byrne said of her father as she fought back tears. “Loved his family, his kids, his first grandchild.”