Driver killed in tanker truck accident on New Jersey Turnpike in Kearny, caused by mattresses in roadway

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Thursday, October 8, 2015
Tanker fire closes stretch NJ Turnpike in Kearny
Jim Dolan and Shannon Sohn report

KEARNY, N.J. (WABC) -- A driver was killed when his tanker truck collided with another vehicle and caught fire on the New Jersey Turnpike Wednesday afternoon. State Police say it was caused by slowing traffic due to mattresses in the roadway.

The fire was just past Exit 15W near milepost 110 in Kearny, causing the closure of the northbound western spur of the turnpike at Route 280 and snarling traffic for miles.

A man driving along on the turnpike witnessed the fiery crash:

Police say the tanker truck collided with a Honda CRV at about 3:15 p.m. The truck flipped over a guardrail on the right shoulder and wound up on its side, erupting into flames. It burned at a high intensity for nearly two hours.

The driver of the Honda was taken to the hospital with minor injuries.

Smoke from the fire could be seen for miles, like this photo shows:

A foam truck was called in from the Port Authority to fight the blaze, which was extinguished.

WEB EXTRA: Watch video of the fiery scene as viewed from NewsCopter 7

Based on the preliminary investigation, the driver encountered slowing traffic due to several mattresses and box springs in the roadway.

The driver was unable to maintain directional control of the vehicle while attempting to avoid slowing traffic.

As a result, the truck traveled across the right lane and right shoulder, struck the right guardrail, and overturned before becoming engulfed in flames.