School bus crash shuts down Rt. 35 for 7 hours, missing truck driver sought
Police are looking to track down the driver of a tractor trailer that was involved in a crash with a school bus, shutting down Route 35 in Middletown for about seven hours Friday.
According to police, officers first responded to the crash just south of New Monmouth Road at 6:39 a.m. Police said the road reopened just before 2 p.m.
A Helfrich bus being driven by Beverly Cerbone, 65, from Port Monmouth, was travelling south on Route 35 when she struck a tractor trailer that was parked on the shoulder of the road, police said.
Cerbone, the only person on the bus, was flown to Jersey Shore Medical Center in Neptune, NJ, with non-life threatening injuries, they said.
The driver of the tractor trailer was not inside his vehicle at the time of the crash and left the scene on foot prior to police arrival, according to police. But video footage of the driver was obtained from a local store, and police have identified the driver and are working with the trucking company to locate him, police said.
It wasn't clear from information released by police why the tractor trailer was parked or why the driver wasn't in it at the time. It also wasn't clear what led to the crash itself.
Middletown Police are requesting anyone who may have witnessed the accident contact the Traffic Bureau at 732-615-2045. The investigation is being led by Cpl. Darrin Simon.
NJ.com reported earlier Friday that as of of 8 a.m., members of the Middletown Township Fire Department were pealing pieces of the bus away, trying to extricate the driver. First-responders were also administering oxygen and intravenous fluids, the report said.
Images of the bus shared on social media show it severely mangled: