MAHWAH TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP) — A father and son trying to help a co-worker repair his broken down vehicle were among three people killed in a fiery crash Tuesday along Interstate 287 in New Jersey, according to the New Jersey State Police.
State police said Wednesday that 42-year-old Santiago F. Mercado and his son, 22-year-old Santiago M. Mercado, both of Nyack, New York, and 58-year-old Harry Bulatowicz of Ellenville, New York, were pronounced dead at the scene of the accident, which happened around 12:30 Tuesday afternoon near the New York border in Mahwah.
All three men worked for the company Concrete on Demand of Oakland, New Jersey, police said. The Mercados had driven a pickup to the scene to help Bulatowicz repair his cement truck, which was disabled along the right shoulder of 287. Police said the three men were outside and standing by the left side of the cement truck when they were fatally struck by a tractor-trailer driven by 58-year-old Adelbert McKee of Ellenville.
Police described the chain of events during the accident, saying the driver of a Toyota had slowed down and moved to the left side of the right-hand lane after spotting the men working on the side of the road.
The tractor-trailer, driven by Bulatowicz and registered to JNT Transportation of Friendsville, Pennsylvania, struck the right rear of the Toyota, the left side of the cement truck, and the three men standing outside it, according to state police. The tractor-trailer maintained contact with the Toyota and stopped on the right shoulder, where both vehicles caught on fire. Police said Bulatowicz and a husband and wife in the Toyota escaped before the vehicles became engulfed. All three were treated for minor injuries.
Police said no charges had been filed, but said the investigation was continuing.