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Charges pending for truck driver in horrific turnpike accident

Four people killed, including a husband, wife and their two-year-old daughter

Aug 15, 2006 |

In the aftermath of a horrific accident on I-95, a truck driver may be facing charges. He's accused in the massive accident that killed four people. It happened in the northbound lanes near the New Jersey Turnpike extension in Teaneck. Four other people are in the hospital.

The driver, is facing very serious charges this morning. The Bergen County prosecutor's office is trying to decide how to proceed.

The accident happened near Exit 70 on the New Jersey Turnpike in Teaneck.

Police say it appears that a flatbed truck hauling bricks failed to stop as it approached slowed traffic. The truck rammed one car and turned over onto another and pushed both cars into another tractor trailer.

Those killed in the accident were 41-year-old Theresa Christmas, 40-year-old Charles Christmas and two-year-old Victoria Christmas all of Astoria. All three were riding in a Nissan Altima that was hit from the rear by the truck.

Friends react to the tragedy.

Family friend: "They're the nicest family you'll ever meet. Charles was the nicest guy, honestly a nice guy. This is devastating, this horrible that this happened."

Also killed was 37-year-old Norma Ryan of Voorhees, who was driving a Toyota 4Runner that was struck by the trailer as it began to turn over.

Three passengers in that SUV: 12-year-old Peter Ryan, six-month-old Samantha Ryan and 64-year-old Maria Rosado of the Bronx are listed in critical condition at Hackensack University Hospital with internal injuries.

Victim's Friend: "Norma was a wonderful mother."

The drivers of the two trucks and the occupants of two other cars involved were uninjured.

Emergency workers call this one of the worst accidents that they've ever seen on the turnpike.

Joe Orlando, New Jersey Turnpike spokesman: "It's really horrific. This one is a horrible circumstance involving children. Really, you can't think of a much worse scenario."

Police say charges are pending against the driver of the truck, Dimitrios S. Tseperkas of Port Jefferson, pending the results of an ongoing investigation. The truck is registered to DTF Logistics of Port Jefferson, N.Y.

While the Turnpike's express lanes were closed through the evening rush hour, they later reopened around 8 p.m.

The sole survivor in the Altima, four-year-old Theresa Christmas, was taken to University Hospital in Newark is in fair condition, according to state police spokesman. Counselors will be provided to her to help her deal with the loss of her parents and little sister.

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