A three-vehicle accident on the Garden State Parkway slowed traveling down to a grinding halt on both sides of the highway this morning.
The 7:30 a.m. accident occurred at mile marker 81.4 northbound. It left one vehicle in flames and another motorist requiring extrication from their vehicle. According to District Fire Chief John H. Lightbody, Toms River Township Fire Company Stations 25 and 26, along with Beachwood and Pine Beach Volunteer Fire Companies were dispatched to the scene.
“Fire Chief Jeff Cirz of Toms River Station 26, who was the first arriving Fire Officer, observed a vehicle on the shoulder of the roadway heavily involved in fire, which the occupants had escaped, a second vehicle approximately 50 yards away located in the fast lane displaying heavy damage as a result of a vehicle crash, in which the occupants were also out of the vehicle, and a third vehicle was located further down the Parkway that was involved in the crash, with a single occupant trapped in the driver's seat of the car,” said Lightbody.
Lightbody explained that Chief Cirz established command of the incident and directed Station 26 to suppress the vehicle fire, and the fire was brought under control and extinguished at 7:46 a.m.
“Fire Chief John Gonzalez of Station 25, arrived and directed the extrication of the entrapped victim, which was also conducted by Station 25 firefighters. The victim was removed from the vehicle at 7:51 a.m., and turned over to EMS personnel on scene,” Lightbody said.
Subsequently, the victim was airlifted by a MONOC Medivac helicopter which landed on the Parkway's northbound lanes, for transport to a local trauma center. Beachwood and Pine Beach Fire Companies assisted with the fire suppression and oversaw the Medivac landing, under the direction of Fire Chief, Dennis Allen, of the Beachwood Fire Company, the district chief explained.
“The Parkway northbound lanes were completely shut down for approximately 50 minutes, as all units cleared from the scene at 8:18 a.m.,” said Lightbody.