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4 Dead, 4 Injured in NJ Turnpike Accident

Aug 15, 2006 | AP

Four people were killed and four others were hospitalized Monday afternoon in a six-vehicle pileup that closed a portion of the New Jersey Turnpike and snarled traffic through the evening rush-hour.

The accident on the roadway's northbound express lanes was caused when a truck hauling bricks was unable to stop as it approached slowed traffic, state police said. The truck rammed one car and turned over onto another and pushed both cars into another tractor trailer.

Killed in the accident were Theresa Christmas, 41; Charles Christmas, 40, and Victoria Christmas, 2, all of Astoria. All three were riding in a Nissan Altima that was hit from the rear by the truck.

A fourth passenger in the Altima, 4-year-old Theresa Christmas, was taken to University Hospital in Newark and was in fair condition, according to state police spokesman Steve Jones.

Also killed was Norma Ryan, 37, of Voorhees, who was driving a Toyota 4Runner that was struck by the trailer as it began to turn over. Three passengers in that vehicle: Peter Ryan, 12; Samantha Ryan, 6 months, and Maria Rosado, 64, of the Bronx, N.Y. were in critical condition Monday night at Hackensack University Hospital with internal injuries.

Traffic was slowed or stopped when the truck carrying the bricks was unable to stop and rode along the road's shoulder, according to Jones. The truck hit the side of a Mitsubishi Eclipse, causing minor damage, before striking the Altima and driving it into the side of the tractor trailer.

Charges are pending against the driver of the truck, Dimitrios S. Tseperkas, 46, of Port Jefferson, Jones said, pending the results of an ongoing investigation. The truck is registered to DTF Logistics of Port Jefferson.

The Turnpike's express lanes remained closed through the evening rush-hour, but opened at about 8 p.m.


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