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Amber Alert

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Driver killed as truck flips

The driver of a tractor-trailer was killed Friday afternoon when his truck flipped on the Route 18 southbound ramp leading to Route 138 East, police said. The driver, whose name has not been released pending notification of his family, had to be extricated from the truck by heavy rescue teams, police Sgt. Walt Pomphrey said. He died a short time later at Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune, Pomphrey said.

The truck had rolled over on the driver's side, complicating efforts to free the driver, who for a time was reported wedged in the cab. Rescue personnel said he appeared to have suffered multiple injuries.

Accident investigators determined that the tractor-trailer, a 1999 Kenworth hauling construc-tion debris, ran into the rear of another vehicle before rolling onto its side and dumping its load along both of the highway ramps.

The ramps from Route 18 were closed for several hours as police continued their investigation, and work crews cleaned up the tons of debris that spilled from the truck's open trailer across the roadway, officials said.

Special equipment was also required to right the damaged tractor and trailer and remove them from the scene.

The ramps were finally reopened at 8 p.m., police said.

The other vehicle struck by the truck was a 2007 Jeep driven by Elizabeth Centrone of Middletown. She was not injured in the crash, police said.

The accident caused a rerouting of traffic from 2 until 8 p.m. as crews from the Wall First Aid Squad, South Wall Fire Department, MONOC Medic Unit, Glendola Fire Department, state Department of Transportation and the New Jersey State Police worked to reopen the roadway and investigate the crash.

The site of the crash has long been a problem, said Pete Chicarielli, who lives on nearby Glendola Road. Ten months ago, he awoke to find a wrecked car in his back yard at 4 a.m. after a driver failed to navigate the ramp safely.

"This is an ongoing problem. When you're coming off at a high speed on (Route 18), you make a right and you get a good look at a curb right in front of you," he said. "To not have a guardrail there is crazy."

Chicarielli said he has petitioned the DOT to make the interchange safer, but has seen no action.

"If I tell you there's been 20 to 30 (crashes) there, that would be a light number," he said. "I don't want to bash anybody but this road really has to get fixed."

Any witnesses to the crash are asked to contact Wall police at (732) 449-4500.Source