Investigators said a tractor-trailer failed to stop for a red light around 5:20 p.m. in the southbound lane of Route 1 near Prince Street and rear-ended a minivan. This caused a chain reaction that led to at least six other vehicles colliding.
One driver suffered a serious injury and was taken to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick. She is currently listed in critical condition. Nine others involved in the crash were also taken to the hospital and treated for minor injuries.
Officials had earlier reported one person had died but later said that information was incorrect.
The truck, operated by a company called Racing Transport, plowed through at least 8 vehicles before stopping. The driver was transported to the hospital, where he faced questions from Edison police.
A minivan with a family inside sustained the most damage, and first responders used the Jaws of Life to rescue a mother and her two teenage girls. The girls sustained minor injuries, but their mother, Victoria Castignetti, is in critical condition.
"From the information I got from my daughters, my wife said, 'Oh my God,' and that was it. It was all chaos after that," said Paul Castignetti, Victoria's husband. "She has bleeding on the brain, a couple of rib fractures. That's really all I know so far."
The accident happened at the height of rush hour on Route 1.
"We were all stopped at the red light, and this tractor-trailer just didn't stop," said 19-year-old Austin Brooks, a passenger in one of the damaged cars. "It was just a domino effect of cars, you know, spinning around, and next thing I know, I get hit really hard from behind, and then we spin out, and next thing I realize I'm facing first in the median."
The investigation is active and is continuing. Anyone with information is asked to call Lieutenant Dominick Masi of the Edison Police Department at (732) 248-7400 or Detective Don Heck of the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office at (732) 745-8842.
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