ROXBURY, NJ – A semi trailer truck crashed into a NJ state work crew truck Wednesday morning, May 19, 2010, in Morris County, New Jersey, setting off a fire and creating miles of traffic delays. The truck accident occurred as highway crews were attempting to make road repairs on Route 80 near the town of Roxbury, NJ. The accident area is in the north central section of the state, about 70 miles east of Allentown, Pennsylvania and 47 miles west of New York, New York.
On Wednesday morning a New Jersey State Department of Transportation crew was working on the westbound lanes of Route 80, filling potholes and other road repair work. While the road work crew worked a NJ DOT truck was stopped behind them to protect them from oncoming traffic. The DOT truck was driven by 59 year old Myron Waciuva of Oak Ridge, NJ and was equipped with a lighted directional sign warning other vehicles that a work crew was on the highway.
At the same time Wednesday, 42 year old truck driver Darren J. Stein of Sandusky, Ohio was headed west on Route 80 in his semi trailer truck. Shortly before 11:30 a.m. he came upon the area near mile marker 28.2 where the highway crew was working. At this point the NJ DOT truck was stopped in the right lane of Route 80, with its warning lights activated.
For unknown reasons the semi trailer truck driver failed to maneuver to avoid a collision and slammed into the back of the DOT truck. The collision sent the two trucks into the left lane of traffic. The semi trailer truck flipped over on its side and the impact ruptured a fuel tank, spilling gallons of diesel fuel out onto the highway.
The force of the truck accident caused the state DOT truck to crash into another vehicle on the highway, a car driven by 52 year old Chi S. Kim of Palisades Park, NJ. The impact of the second truck accident caused Mr. Kim to lose control of his vehicle and it flipped over onto the driver’s side, trapping Mr. Kim inside.
The semi trailer truck and the DOT truck ended up against the highway guardrail. The diesel fuel that had spilled out of the semi truck ignited and within seconds the two trucks were engulfed in flames and black smoke filled the air. Both truck drivers were able to escape from the burning rigs.
Local firefighters and emergency personnel responded to the truck accident scene to extinguish the fire and treat the victims. Rescue workers used tools to extricate the car driver, Mr. Kim, from his vehicle. Once free he was treated for neck and back pain. The driver of the state truck suffered minor injuries to his head and back. The driver of the semi trailer was apparently not injured in the crash.
Authorities shut down a section of Route 80 surrounding the truck accident scene so workers could clean up the traffic lanes. All westbound lanes and two of the eastbound lanes were closed, causing traffic delays for miles around the accident site. It would take hours for workers to clear the wreckage of the two truck collision off the highway and clean up the remaining spilled diesel fuel.
Officials gradually reopened lanes as work was completed and finally opened all lanes by 3:00 p.m. Wednesday afternoon. However, the impact of the truck accident lingered and officials warned drivers to expect significant delays during the evening commuter hours.
Authorities investigating the truck accident believe that Mr. Stein, the driver of the semi trailer truck, was likely responsible for the crash but no charges have been brought at this time.
The truck accident remains under investigation.
For more information about New Jersey trucking laws, truck injury causes and victims rights, contact nationwide truck accident lawyers Gordon, Elias & Seely, LLP for expert advice. For a free initial consultation, talk to a NJ truck accident lawyer at 800.773.6770.