CARTERET — A tractor trailer fell off a New Jersey Turnpike overpass Sunday evening onto Turnpike property and burst into flames, sending plumes of smoke into the air and temporarily shutting down the mainline Turnpike and killing the driver.

The Carteret Fire Department said on its Facebook page that the truck went off the ramp at Exit 12, at the toll plaza near the Holiday Inn alongside the ramp.

State Police spokesman Sgt. Jeff Flynn said the truck struck a barrier and a guard rail around 6:30 p.m. and burst into flames engulfing the truck and entrapping the driver who was killed. Flynn did not disclose the identity of the driver pending notification of family.

The initial response closed all lanes on the northbound Turnpike and then just the off-ramp from the northbound lanes, causing a multi-mile delay.

Norfolk Southern freight train tracks under the Turnpike were also closed by the incident, according to the fire department.

A foam truck and hazardous material team were also sent to the scene, according to the Carteret Fire Department.

The Carteret Fire Department told NBC 4 New York the truck, a refrigerated fruit truck, hit another vehicle before plunging off the ramp to the ground.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ.

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