MANCHESTER – A series of roadway accidents plagued Manchester’s streets over the weekend, leaving three people injured and one person dead.
The trouble started on Friday afternoon, September 8, around 4:23 p.m. Manchester Police were called to assist a pedestrian who had been hit by a mail truck in Crestwood Village near Ardmore Street and Sunset Road.
80-year-old Helen Melendez was outside at her mailbox getting her mail when she was struck by a U.S. Postal Service truck as it backed up in the roadway. An investigation showed that the truck had just delivered mail to a box on Ardmore Street and was starting to pull away when it unexpectedly backed up and hit Melendez.
She suffered an injury to her leg and head and was taken to Community Medical Center in Toms River by EMTs from Quality Medical Transport, where she was treated for her injuries.
Later that night, around 10:36 p.m., Manchester Police responded to another accident on Route 571 near the Ridgeway Blvd. intersection to find an overturned Mack dump truck on its side blocking both lanes of the road, and a utility pole snapped with telephone wires lying across the roadway.
The dump truck had been traveling eastbound on 571 when the hydraulic arm on the truck’s dump bed activated, rose into the air, and struck telephone wires, causing a utility pole to snap and the wires to be pulled down into the roadway. The driver, 52-year-old Derrick Wiley of South Amboy, also lost control of the vehicle, which is what caused it to overturn.
Bystanders helped him exit the dump truck and he was transported by EMTs from Quality Medical Transport to Community Medical Center for treatment of non-life threatening injuries. The roadway was closed for several hours in both directions during the investigation and cleanup of the accident. It is yet to be determined whether or not the hydraulic arm activation was a malfunction or negligence by Wiley.
On Saturday, September 9 at 8:44 p.m. a 2006 Yamaha Royal ST motorcycle collided with a Chrysler Pacifica in the eastbound lane of Route 70 near the intersection of County Route 539, next to the entrance of Wawa.
An investigation by the Manchester Police showed that the driver of the Pacifica, 25-year-old Katelyn Desaules of Toms River, was trying to make a left-hand turn into the Wawa from Route 70 West when she hit the motorcycle. Gary Quatrano, 59, of Neptune, was driving his motorcycle in the eastbound lane of Route 70 at the time, and had not fully secured his helmet chin strap before riding, causing it to come off during the crash impact.
Quatrano was transported by EMTs from Quality Medical Transport to Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune, where he later died from his injuries. Desaules was taken to Community Medical Center in Toms River for treatment and evaluation.