Tow truck driver and wife killed responding to crash in Jackson Township, NJ

JACKSON TWP., N.J. - November 19, 2013

It happened at 8:00 p.m. Tuesday in Jackson Township, Ocean County.

Chopper 6 HD was over the scene at Cassville and Leesville Roads.

Police say 70-year-old Robert Johnson and his 62-year-old wife, Shirley, both of Jackson, were responding to another accident scene in their flatbed truck.

Investigators say for some reason the truck ran through a stop sign, traveled into some woods and slammed into a tree.

The impact pinned the couple inside. The vehicle burst into flames.

Police say several passers-by tried to douse the flames using fire extinguishers, but were unable to free the couple. Both perished in the blaze.

Robert and Shirley Johnson were the parents of five sons and grandparents to nine children. On Wednesday their sons talked about the loss of their parents.

"They always supported us, always had our back, always encouraged us to do the right thing and stay focused on life," said Derex Johnson.

"They were respected everywhere. Anyone who knew them loved them," said Jermaine Johnson.

The Johnsons' business, BJ Towing, had operated off Bennetts Mills Road for decades. Their trucks were well known in Ocean County and the husband and wife were pillars of the community.

"They took care of everybody's kids," said family friend Tom Bradley. "They were some of the last people to really teach kids what respect was."

"They will be missed, for sure. It's a shock for all of us here. It's a small, yet large community. 55,000 people here but we all know each other," said Dr. Lambros Lambrou of Jackson Twp.

The crash remains under investigation.

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