Two tractor trailers set off a harrowing highway accident in Paramus, New Jersey, Wednesday, Feb. 22, seriously injuring a New York man whose passenger vehicle was struck by a steel beam that flew off one of the commercial trucks.
Crash reports indicate the accident may have started with a mechanical problem or malfunction in one of the commercial trucks. Police investigating the crash reported that the 63-year-old driver of one of the tractor trailers said the brakes of his truck locked as he slowed for traffic in the northbound lane of Route 17 in Paramus. The truck became disabled and the driver turned on his hazard lights and called for assistance.
Just after the truck stopped, another tractor-trailer hauling steel beams moved to the center lane of the highway. The 50-year-old driver attempted to avoid colliding with the stalled truck by swerving into the left lane, but he hit the rear of the cargo bed and collided with the concrete median on the left side of the highway. The impact caused the steel beams to spill into the northbound traffic.
Authorities said one of the steel beams, weighing about 2,500 pounds, slid over the concrete barrier and struck a 2014 Toyota traveling in the southbound lanes, injuring a 56-year-old man from Thiells, New York. The man was reported to be in serious condition but was expected to live.
Another beam also crossed the barrier and hit a 2005 Ford driving in a southbound lane of the highway. The driver was reportedly being treated for chest and back pain.
The crash closed both northbound and southbound lanes of Route 17 for several hours as crews worked to remove the wreckage and clear the heavy beams from the highway.
Sources: NBC News New York