YOU READ IT HERE FIRST : An SUV was smashed between a car carrier and a tractor-trailer in a chain-reaction crash that severely damaged at least two other cars on westbound Route 80 in Elmwood Park this morning.
NOTE: No fewer than six emergency responders and witnesses at the scene told CLIFFVIEW PILOT there was no evidence of a car falling from the carrier, as was reported elsewhere (more below).
The pileup began around 11:20 a.m. when a Lancaster County, PA tractor-trailer hauling organic produce became disabled in the center lane just after Exit 62, police said.
The resulting chain reaction crash left an SUV sandwiched between the rear of that rig and a car carrier whose driver apparently swerved to avoid it, witnesses told CLIFFVIEW PILOT .
The SUV “was smashed pretty bad,” one said. “They had to cut it open to remove a passenger.”
New Jersey State Police Sgt. First Class Gregory Williams confirmed that the SUV occupant and the driver of another vehicle were extricated with injuries that didn’t appear life-threatening. Saddle Brook Rescue 1 got the SUV passenger out, while Elmwood Park firefighters removed the driver of a Nissan Altima.
Williams also said authorities tentatively believed that a vehicle also fell from the carrier and hit another car — although aerial and ground photos of the crash scene show a full carrier, with damage to the cab and a white sedan above it.
Several responders at the scene, including two ranking officials, said they believe a piece of a car may have fallen, or swung loose, but not an entire vehicle.
Two other vehicles sustained major damage, included the Altima.
Several other vehicles were damaged and the SUV was left barely recognizable following the extrication.
Saddle Brook Rescue 1 and Elmwood Park and New Jersey State Police were among the responders.
Massive traffic backups resulted on Route 80, the Garden State Parkway and local access roads.
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