A tragic bus crash killed two men and injured 41 other people last night on the New Jersey Turnpike. State Police received the first calls reporting the crash at 9 p.m. Monday night. A passenger bus driven by Wei Wang, 50, of Forest Hills, NY went off the left side of the outer roadway (truck lanes) of the southbound Turnpike. The bus traveled along a grassy median between the southbound lanes before striking a concrete overpass support below the onramp to the southbound inner roadway (car only lanes) from Route 18 (Exit 9).
Preliminary evidence indicates that the front end impact caused the rear of the bus to come off the ground and strike the bottom of the overpass. The bus then went across all three lanes of the southbound outer roadway and hit a dirt embankment on the right side of the highway with its front end. The rear of the bus remained in the right lane.
The bus’ driver, Mr. Wang, was ejected through the windshield and landed about 15 feet from the bus. Trooper Keith Hamlin was the first on scene. He ran past numerous victims with minor injuries and began CPR on Mr. Wang who died of his injuries and was later declared at the scene.
Passenger Troy Nguyen, 20, of Royersford, PA was partially ejected through the most rearward driver’s side window. An off duty fireman and other troopers from Cranbury Station carefully pulled Mr. Nguyen back in through the window and stabilized him until medics arrived. Mr. Nguyen was transported to Robert Wood Johnson hospital in New Brunswick where he died of head injuries.
Louis Pierre, 50, of Philadelphia, PA and David R. Choi, 70, of Landsdale, PA are both listed in critical condition at RWJ/New Brunswick. Both are believed to have been sitting near the rear of the bus.
In total, there were 43 people on board including the driver, all of them injured to some extent. There were three children on board, 11 year old twin boys and a 2 year old boy. They were not seriously injured.
The cause of the crash has not yet been determined. New Jersey state troopers specializing in commercial carriers and fatal crash investigations will continue the investigation, including further examination of the bus, which has been impounded. They will be gathering physical evidence as well as data that may have been recorded on the bus’ electronics. Pieces of a tire have been taken to determine when in the sequence of events that tire blew out.