NJ STATE POLICE: A tragic bus crash killed two men and injured 41 other people Monday night on the New Jersey Turnpike. State Police received the first calls at 9 p.m. A passenger bus driven by Wei Wang, 50, of Forest Hills, went off the left side of the outer roadway (truck lanes) of the southbound Turnpike.
The bus traveled along a grassy median between the southbound lanes before striking a concrete overpass support below the onramp to the southbound inner roadway (car-only lanes) from Route 18 (Exit 9).
This was written by Sgt. Brian Polite of the NJSP’s Office of Public Information
Preliminary evidence indicates that the front end impact caused the rear of the bus to come off the ground and strike the bottom of the overpass. The bus then went across all three lanes of the southbound outer roadway and hit a dirt embankment on the right side of the highway with its front end. The rear of the bus remained in the right lane.
Mr. Wang was ejected through the windshield and landed about 15 feet from the bus. Trooper Keith Hamlin was the first on scene. He ran past numerous victims with minor injuries and began CPR on Mr. Wang, who died of his injuries and was later declared at the scene.
Passenger Troy Nguyen, 20, of Royersford, PA was partially ejected through the most rearward driver’s-side window. An off-duty fireman and other troopers from Cranbury Station carefully pulled Mr. Nguyen back in through the window and stabilized him until medics arrived. Mr. Nguyen was transported to Robert Wood Johnson Hospital in New Brunswick, where he died of head injuries.
Louis Pierre, 50, of Philadelphia, PA, and David R. Choi, 70, of Landsdale, PA, are both listed in critical condition at RWJ/New Brunswick. Both are believed to have been sitting near the rear of the bus.
In total, there were 43 people on board, including the driver, all of them injured to some extent. There were three children on board, 11-year-old twin boys and a 2-year-old boy. They were not seriously injured.
The cause of the crash has not yet been determined. New Jersey state troopers specializing in commercial carriers and fatal crash investigations will continue the investigation, including further examination of the bus, which has been impounded. They will be gathering physical evidence as well as data that may have been recorded on the bus’ electronics. Pieces of a tire have been taken to determine when in the sequence of events that tire blew out.
The Medical Examiner’s Office will conduct an autopsy to determine whether the driver suffered any medical issue prior to the crash. The crash investigation, with its many components, may take several weeks to conclude.
Troopers arriving on the scene within the first minutes described a scene that was initially chaotic, with injured people everywhere. They were forced to bypass some victims to aid more severely injured people. Numerous first aid and fire companies responded, transporting victims to Robert Wood Johnson hospitals in New Brunswick and Rahway, JFK in Edison, Raritan Bay Medical Center in Perth Amboy and Old Bridge, and St. Peters in New Brunswick.
The outer roadway of the southbound Turnpike was shut down for the emergency and subsequent investigation for six hours. Traffic was diverted onto the inner lanes during that time.
The 1999 Van Hool bus was operated by Super Luxury Tours, Inc. of Wilkes Barre, PA. It started in the Chinatown section of Manhattan and was heading to Philadelphia.
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