BERKELEY HEIGHTS — A fatal crash on Route 78 westbound in Berkeley Heights between several cars and a dump truck, and an overturned tractor trailer and debris spill on the New Jersey Turnpike near Exit 8A caused huge delays during the Thursday afternoon commute.

The driver of a dump truck heading east on Route 78 lost control around Exit 43, struck the concrete barrier around 2:45 p.m., and then hit three cars on the westbound side, according to State Police spokesman Sgt. Lawrence Peele.

The crash investigation closed the westbound lanes for about eight hours. Three eastbound lanes were blocked for emergency vehicles.

Donald Desmond, 53, of Easton, Pa., the driver of one of the cars, was pronounced dead at the scene, according to Peele, The other drivers sustained minor injuries.

Peele said the cause of the crash remains under investigation and no charges have been filed.

It was also a slow ride on the Turnpike because of an overturned tractor trailer that spilled a load of boxes and struck a bridge support in the outer lanes near 8A around 3:20 p.m.

The driver sustained serious injuries as a result of the crash.

The left lane was closed for over two hours, causing backups in both the inner and outer lanes.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ.

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