Freezing rain ices up NJ roads: Cops injured in crash, Old Bridge woman dies
Spotty icy mix and freezing rain that fell across New Jersey Wednesday morning were enough to ice up the roads and cause numerous crashes, including one that killed a woman in Old Bridge and another that injured two officers directing traffic in Newark.
The conditions also led to a 30-car crash in Monmouth County that hospitalized seven people.
"Temperatures are colder than expected, so conditions are a bit icier than expected," New Jersey 101.5 Chief Meteorologist Dan Zarrow said. "Freezing rain falls as liquid raindrops until hitting a cold surface. Then the droplet freezes on contact into solid ice. Untreated surfaces can become very slippery with just a little bit of icy mix and/or freezing rain."
It was just enough to create what New Jersey 101.5 Fast Traffic's Bob Williams described as a "nightmare" with numerous spinouts and minor crashes along the New Jersey Turnpike and Garden State Parkway. Fast Traffic's Jill Myra compared the roads to an ice rink.
NJ Transit said its buses were running with 15-minute delays due to slippery conditions statewide.
State Police spokeswoman Brandi Slota said that between 4 a.m. and 12:45 p.m. on Wednesday troopers responded to 262 motor vehicle crashes and 125 motorist aids.
Among the more serious crashes on Wednesday:
A garbage truck that couldn't stop in time hit a gray Honda Accord pulling onto Route 34 from the parking lot of Future Pharmacy near Spring Hill Road in Old Bridge around 5:35 a.m, according to acting Old Bridge police Chief Joseph Mandola.
The driver of the Honda, a 59-year-old Old Bridge woman, was pronounced dead at the scene. Her identify was not disclosed pending notification of family. Mandola said it was unknown if the weather played a role in the crash.
In a separate incident a school bus went off Route 18 near Ferry Road and landed on its side, according to Mandola. No students were on board the bus and the driver was not injured, the chief said.
Two Newark police officers responding to a crash on southbound Route 1&9 at Raymond Boulevard were struck by a vehicle and hospitalized at University Hospital with "significant injuries," according to Newark Public Safety Director Brian O'Hara.
“I am extremely grateful that the officers will both recover from the injuries they sustained after being struck today,” O’Hara said. "I am pleased by the bravery these two injured officers exhibited in response to an earlier collision by putting their own lives in jeopardy."
Seven people were injured in a crash involving 30 vehicles on Route 18 at the ramp to Route 36 in Tinton Falls, according to Monmouth County Sheriff Shawn Golden. Four people were hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries and two people with taken to Jersey Shore University Hospital with serious injuries.
“This was a major event due to severe icing conditions that caused slick and dangerous roads which resulted in the pile up,” Golden said.
A small school bus headed to the Bergen County Academies magnet school with eight high school students on board plus an aide crashed into a utility pole on Hackensack Avenue in Hackensack after sliding on black ice around 7:10 a.m. near Hackensack Cemetery south of Route 4, according to Hackensack police Capt. Darrin DeWitt. Another bus came to take the students to school less than a mile away while a PSE&G crew repositioned the pole which was blocking a southbound lane. No one was injured in the crash, according to DeWitt.
South Brunswick police said they responded to 38 crashes and motorist assists involving 50 vehicles between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. on Wednesday morning. Two people were injured the crashes, according to police, who said 12 roads had to be closed because of the crashes.
A crash on Route 10 westbound in Denville near the hotels closed the road with a downed utility pole and wires.
Route 1 northbound in Lawrence, Route 80 in Lodi and Parsippany and Route 195 in Upper Freehold were closed due to crashes during the morning.
Lakewood's Hatzolah and EMS responded to numerous reports of slips, according to The Lakewood Scoop.
Some school districts delayed the start of classes for Wednesday morning in anticipation of freezing rain. Marlboro, Mountainside and Princeton made late decisions to delay in order to give buses and parents more time to navigate the roads.
Power outages for JCP&L and PSE&G customers were minimal because of the storm, according to their respective outage maps.