Alcohol may be a factor in wrong way crash

December 29, 2007 9:00:49 PM PST
A traffic crash on I-95 left 4 people dead and at least five injured on Friday night. Three of the deceased are from the same family. It happened in the northbound lanes, near the Scudder Falls Bridge in Ewing Township, Mercer County. A pickup truck going the wrong way and hit a minivan head-on.

Rebecca Hernandez and her family had spent the day skiing at Shawnee Mountain in the Poconos. They were just ten miles from home when the holiday outing ended in unspeakable tragedy.

Raymond Duffy witnessed the fatal collision saying, "We were getting over to the right-hand side when all of a sudden you just saw a white truck coming down in the left-hand lane. And the impact was almost instantaneous." Duffy was two cars back and narrowly missed the collision.

Police say this pickup truck was traveling south in the northbound lanes near the Scudder Falls Bridge. It collided head on with a minivan driven by Hernandez. She had six members of her family with her, five of them visiting from Puerto Rico. Hernandez was killed, as were two other members of her family.

The driver of the pickup, 76-year-old Robert Clark was also killed.

Duffy was following his sister-in-law's car, which was also damaged in the collision. She and her fiancé escaped with minor injuries. Duffy tells us, "It was a big, loud boom. Part of the car probably came across the highway and hit my sister-in-law's car. The body came out of the minivan, and with that we were able to pull over and avoid everything. And luckily, my sister-in-law and my brother-in-law are fine."

Hernandez lived in an apartment in Princeton with 29-year-old Ricardo Sanabria. He was treated for minor injuries. Another relative remains hospitalized in critical condition.

Police say they found an open bottle of alcohol in Clark's truck. He is a former resident of Clementon, and had been in the area visiting relatives in Cherry Hill. Police are now trying to retrace the steps that led him to driving the wrong way, a turn that cost him and three other people their lives.