Photos and report by Ron Jeffers
More than a half dozen people were injured when a Union City (NJ) Department of Public Works garbage truck was involved in a major accident that began in front of the main post office at Palisade Ave. and 30th Street, July 3rd. This caused a traffic nightmare in Hudson County (NJ) and New York City on the holiday week.
The truck may have lost control and stuck several vehicles at the intersection. The vehicle continued to knock down obstacles that included a light pole and clock tower, and then it crashed through the barrier above I-495 Westbound and landed, cab first, onto the highway and up against a stone wall. The knocked down clock tower stopped working at 12:56 p.m. This accident was described as “bizarre” by a local TV news station.
ccording to a Port Authority of New York and New Jersey spokesman, the truck struck a passing Bolt Bus that was traveling on Route 495. An auto that stopped in front of the bus had a metal bar through the windshield, stopping just shy of the driver.
A city police unit radioed in the accident as the truck rolled down into the depressed highway. Emergency units were sent to the intersection and the highway below. The North Hudson Regional (NJ) Fire & Rescue dispatched a rescue assignment to the scene. Those units were initially dispatched to the intersection above the depressed highway where there were many victims inside the struck autos that needed extrication and medical assistance.
An amateur video shows other drivers coming to the aid of the two city workers in the cab of the truck to assist them getting out of same. The victims were also assisted by arriving Union City police officers and Port Authority Bridge and Tunnel emergency agents from the Lincoln Tunnel.
Along with the North Hudson fire units, city and area ambulances raced to the 30th Street intersection where they assisted victims out of several crushed vehicles. North Hudson fire companies also worked with emergency crews on 495. After extricating some persons at street level, Rescue Co. 1 reported to the depressed highway, under the Palisade Avenue bridge. Firefighters assisted in stabilizing the truck until it could be removed.
The victims were taken to three area hospitals. A local official said they were all in stable condition.
Emergency units that also reported to the scene for assistance included the Hudson County Sheriff’s accident investigation unit, and police from the Port Authority, Weehawken, North Bergen, and West New York. Responding medical crews included Weehawken, North Bergen, Mc Cabe Ambulance, and the Jersey City Medical Center.
Bus routes were shut down going to and from Manhattan. Representatives from the Department of Transportation and engineers also reported to the scene.
Four heavy duty wreckers were used to upright the garbage truck, which was accomplished around 5 p.m. The incident was also being investigated byan accident specialist during this time.
Due to the duration of the incident, on a warm and humid afternoon, the Jersey City Gong Club canteen was called to the highway to supply water and wet towels to first responders and towing crews.
The westbound highway was opened around 7 p.m.
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