Truck falls on Route 495: Driver hit gas, not brakes, probe finds
An investigation by the Hudson County Prosecutor's Office determined it was operator error that sent a garbage truck careening through the streets of Union City and over an overpass onto Route 495 on July 3.
Several people, including a 15-year-old girl, were among 12 injured.
The Union City Department of Public Works garbage truck was driven by Eulalio Diaz, 53.
Diaz was driving east on 30th Street and "applied pressure to the accelerator pedal instead of the brake pedal," prosecutors said Thursday. Testing of the pedals showed 100% pressure applied to the gas pedal during the trip and varying degrees of pressure on the brakes, according to the full report on the crash.
The report also said Diaz was traveling at 10 mph over the speed limit on 30th Street against traffic.
Diaz was not wearing eyeglasses he is required to wear for blurred vision in his right eye, according to the report. Investigators found them slightly damaged in his work backpack after Diaz gave consent for it to be searched, according to the report.
He also consented to a blood test and no alcohol was found. Morphine was found in his blood but it was administered after the crash for his injuries and did not play a role in the crash.
He struck a Honda Odyssey, which then struck an Infinity G35. The garbage truck then struck a Subaru Imprezza, which hit a Nissan Murano and then continued east, investigators said.
The truck jumped the curb on Palisades Avenue and traveled across a median, where it struck several flower posts, a traffic light pole and a large decorative clock before falling several feet onto Route 495, officials said.
Debris from the crash also fell onto a Bolt bus and a Volkswagen GTI.
Diaz told ABC 7 Eyewitness News that the truck's brakes failed and he did everything possible to prevent more damage. He told ABC 7 Eyewitness News that he had broken ribs, a broken arm and cuts to the top of his head.
After the crash, Diaz told CBS 2 New York he did not hit the accelerator.
Prosecutors said Diaz does not face criminal charges or any motor vehicle summons.
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