A multiple-vehicle accident in Mahwah led to the deaths of three people, authorities said. The June 24 incident reportedly occurred on Interstate 287 near the New York border around 12:30 p.m.
According to New Jersey State Police, a 45-year-old man was driving a tractor-trailer in the northbound lanes of I-287 when he crashed into a cement truck that was disabled on the shoulder of the highway. Furthermore, the tractor-trailer struck three men who were standing next to the cement truck: the 58-year-old driver of the truck as well as a 42-year-old man and his 22-year-old son, the latter two of whom had pulled over to help repair the cement truck.
Subsequently, the tractor-trailer hit a Toyota Avalon carrying two people. The tractor-trailer and the Toyota both caught fire, but the trucker and the Toyota's two occupants escaped their respective vehicles with non-serious injuries, authorities stated. Both vehicles sustained significant damages, reportedly.
The three men hit by the semi-truck suffered fatal injuries. Authorities pronounced them dead at the scene. The tractor-trailer was reportedly carrying a load of bricks at the time of the incident. It was not clear immediately following the incident what caused the tractor-trailer to strike the cement truck on the shoulder of the highway.
Police said that their investigation will likely take weeks. Authorities did not immediately file any charges in connection with the event.
If a preponderance of evidence from this case were to reveal that the incident was caused by a negligent driver, then that driver may be held accountable for the fatal accident not just criminally but also in civil court. For, certain family members of people who die in truck accidents caused by negligent drivers may file a wrongful death claim, seeking financial compensation for the damages they suffered as a result of the fatal accident.
Source: Lohud, "Nyack father, son killed in N.J. crash", James O'Rourke, June 25, 2014