Authorities say an accident between a tractor trailer and two cars on Interstate 78 in Union County has forced the closure of two lanes in both directions. The truck caught fire after the crash and spilled debris, causing major delays Tuesday morning on the highway near exit 44 in Berkeley Heights. Two lanes in both directions were closed. The fire stemmed from the accident that happened at about 5:40 a.m. as the tractor-trailer became hung up on a center divider. The driver was able to get out of the truck on his own and was uninjured. State police say that only minor injuries were reported.
Eight people were killed and 22 were injured in a catastrophic New Jersey weekend full of shootings, traffic crashes, and mysterious events.
Among the main ones was a NJ Transit bus collision on Friday, which killed two people and injured 17. The crash occurred at the intersection of Broad Street and Raymond Boulevard in Newark involving the 59 bus, which was traveling without any passengers.
Also this weekend, a 5-year- old boy was killed and four others were hurt in a five-vehicle wreck on the New Jersey Turnpike. A woman was hit in the face by a flying object on a ride at Six Flags Great Adventure, and will require oral surgery after the incident. Two separate fatal
shootings occurred in Newark late Friday night. And police recovered a body at the Round Valley Reservoir near Clinton on Monday.
A truck driver who was killed last week in a fiery crash had recently been identified as Essam Fawaz, 52, of Middlesex Borough.
The accident occurred at 7:17 a.m. on July 14 near milepost 23.4, just west of Exit 24 for Oldwick and Route 523. Fawaz was driving a tractor-trailer east on the highway when it went off the left side of the expressway and hit a bridge abutment.
Fawaz drove for Beltway Transportation Logistics and Pallet Systems of South Plainfield, according to New Jersey 101.15.
“Very preliminary investigation shows there may have been a blowout to one of his tires that may have been a contributing factor to the crash,” State Police Lt. Brian Polite said Friday morning.
The eastbound lanes of the highway were closed for six hours as officers investigated the accident and crews cleared the wreckage. Eastbound traffic was detoured onto Route 22, and drivers faced backups of up to 8 miles.