MANCHESTER – A major crash that shut down Route 37 yesterday is still under investigation, police said.
Officers from the Manchester Township Police Department responded to the intersection of Route 37 and Colonial Drive around 2:22 p.m. regarding a truck rear-ending a car. At the scene, police found a Honda in the middle of the intersection with extensive rear end and passenger side damage.
In addition, a Ford F550 commercial truck was found in the westbound shoulder of Route 37 with extensive damage to the front end, driver side and passenger side. The Ford was hauling a trailer carrying a John Deere 75G Excavator.
According to police, the Honda was traveling westbound on Route 37 and slowed down to a stop for the traffic light at the intersection of Colonial Drive. The Ford was traveling behind the Honda when the distracted driver did not realize the Honda had stopped, ultimately hitting it.
The truck collided into the rear end of the Honda, which spun it into the intersection. The truck veered off the roadway onto the westbound shoulder where it struck the traffic signal, electronic sign board, traffic sign and utility pole, causing extensive damage to each. The collision also caused the trailer to jackknife.
The driver of the Honda, 53-year-old Elizabeth Hughes of Jackson, stated she had head pain and was evaluated by EMTs from the Manchester Township Division of Emergency Services. Hughes denied further medical attention.
The driver of the Ford, 47-year-old Robert Moyer III of Barrington, did not report any injuries from the crash. Both drivers were determined to have been wearing their seatbelts, police said.
Assisting at the scene were New Jersey State Police, Lakehurst Police, EMTs and Firefighters from the Manchester Township Division of Emergency Services, Firefighters from the Whiting Volunteer Fire Department, Manchester Township Volunteer Fire Department and the Ridgeway Volunteer Fire Department, as well as the Manchester Township Office of Emergency Management Director Arthur Abline.
Due to the crash, the intersection was closed causing major traffic delays while officers conducted the investigation and emergency road crews worked on the utility pole and traffic signal.
Currently, JCP&L employees are working on repairing the damaged utility pole and wires, and employees from the New Jersey Department of Transportation are working on repairing the traffic signal at the intersection.
At this time, the crash is still under investigation, but police believe that “driver inattention” is the primary contributing factor to the incident.
The crash is being investigated by Patrolman Michael O’Hara of the department’s Traffic Safety section.