A fire involving an overturned truck closed both side of the New Jersey Turnpike and also disrupted traffic along adjacent Interstate 195 in Robbinsville Township this morning (Oct. 3), according to the New Jersey Turnpike Authority and a witness to the crash.
While authorities have not commented on the extent of the driver’s injuries, first arriving emergency personnel reported that the man was trapped in the burning wreckage. The witness, who said she was traveling a few vehicles behind the truck when it flipped over and burst into flames, said the driver was killed.
The accident happened about 9:45 a.m. along the southbound side of the turnpike in the area of milepost 60.6, just north of the Exit 7A interchange.
“It was a couple cars back. I heard a boom. He [the truck driver] lost one of his wheels. He zigzagged and swerved and all that. Then he hit the median, flipped over, went on fire. And unfortunately the driver died,” said the woman, who asked to remain anonymous.
A resident of Mahwah, she was on her way to a job site in Sicklerville when she witnessed the tragedy.
Not feeling it was safe to drive past the flaming truck, the woman backed her car away, pulled to the side of the road, and called 911. She said other motorists did the same.
She said an unmarked emergency vehicle, driven by man wearing a gun on his hip, was soon on the scene and tried to fight the blaze using gloves and a fire extinguisher.
But the fire was too intense and burned until fire crews from Robbinsville, Allentown, Cranbury and East Windsor arrived. The woman said firefighters arrived quickly and soon had the fire extinguished.
“I feel awful,” she said. “Apparently the driver who didn’t make it, his cousin is also a driver, and he’s a few trucks back. It’s so sad.”