Police say James Sterling was driving an SUV that slammed into an ambulance, setting off a multi-vehicle crash that left 30-year-old Keith Chipepo, of Montclair, dead.
Four others, including a woman in the ambulance, were hurt.
Fellow medics tried desperately to save Chipepo's life, but his injuries were just too severe.
The ambulance he had been driving was flipped over and mangled, the gurney from twisted and flung on the street.
"The blue truck hit the ambulance that spun that into the van," an eyewitness said. "I don't know how the man fell out of the ambulance, but he got squished between the cars."
Chipepo was the father of three children, one just 5 months old.
Family members say he had become an EMT knowing he'd never get rich doing it, but knowing also he could help others.
"He has a very big heart," nephew Isaiah Chipepo said. "He got it from his mother, which was my grandmother. He wasn't any type of cruel guy. He just wanted to help everybody out."
Police sources tell Eyewitness News that the SUV was being followed by a state police vehicle because the operator had been driving erratically earlier.
"Everybody was crying and stuff," Isaiah Chipepo said. "It's really hard."
Sterling, 29, of Elizabeth, is charged with aggravated manslaughter, aggravated assault, driving with a suspended license and eluding. He is being held on $300,000 bail.
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