Man, Wife Injured In Fiery NJ Turnpike Tanker Crash Speak From Hospital

CARLSTADT, NJ (CBSNewYork) —  The driver of a minivan involved in a horrific crash with a tanker truck on the New Jersey Turnpike in Carlstadt said he doesn’t remember anything about the fiery crash that nearly killed him and his family.

Yahyah Bah was driving a van filled with eight other family members — including four children ages 1 to 14 — when police said he tried to back into the northbound express E-ZPass lanes at Exit 18W on the Turnpike.

A tanker truck filled with 8,500 gallons of gasoline hit the minivan full force — the impact ignited a huge fireball.

One driver was able to get an intimate close up of the flames during the initial moments after the collision and recorded the fireball on a cell phone before state police shut down that section of the Turnpike.

The accident shut down the turnpike for hours.

Bah’s 14-year-old daughter and another 8-year-old child were critically injured but are expected to survive.

A 27-year-old family friend was also critically injured.

Bah and his wife, Umu, both suffered head injuries.

Umu tells  CBS 2’s Kathryn Brown the family was headed back to their Washington Heights home Monday night after dropping off a relative at Newark Airport when the crash occurred.

She says they never saw the tanker truck coming.

Brown reports Bah and his wife are in the hospital, sick with worry for their children — but amazed they survived.

At the family’s home, neighbors who saw video of the crash were shaken up to learn their friends were inside the van.

“Crazy, it’s incredible that they’re still alive. I mean, I had no idea that it was someone I knew,” doorman James Greene said.

“They’re just a wonderful family,” building manager Luis Torres said. “It’s just hard to find out what happened to them. My prayers go to them.”

Please share your thoughts below…

  • Anonymous

    Having been a former fuel tanker driver in Kuwait and Iraq in 2003-04 it isn’t at all rare to find some idiot four-wheeler driver doinjg something stupid like pullibng in front of a combination commericla vehile weighing in at 80,000 pounds-plus ande wondering why the accident happened? Afterall, how could anyone in a four wheel vehicle see such a HUGE VEHICLE? Hello?
    I also drove semi-tracktor-trailers in the U.S. prior to tanker driving and most accidents between four wheelers and commercial vehicle operators are caused by four wheel vehicle drivers and NOT commercial drivers; these are actual statistics. Non-commercial drivers, in general, are extremely hazardous, follow too close and are usually doing some unrelated activity like talking on cellphones, applying makeup, reading paperwork, eating or daydreaming while they are driving. It’s no wonder they cause so many accidents.

  • Joe K

    Backing up on the NJT in the Express EZ Pass lane is begging to get slammed!!

    In 2003 I received my Private Pilots license. Every 2 years as a pilot I must sit with an Instructor who is free to grill me about anything & everything regarding my single engine, VFR rating. Then I have perform a check ride too. It is high time we start re-checking all drivers too; w/o regard to race, creed, gender, religion or AGE! Perhaps we should include I.Q. though!!!

  • reddragon696

    It boggles my mind to think that any rational person would think it was safe to back up onto a Turnpike. What did he expect would happen? Was he playing suicide by car crash? I wonder how many times he has done this in the past and just been lucky. His license should be revoked and he should NEVER be allowed to get another one. If he is not a prime candidate for the Darwinism Award I don’t know who is. I have seen this happen several times before when someone misses their exit and then backs up as on-coming traffic doing 60-70 mph try to avoid them. I am glad no one was killed but this man definitely deserves some jail time so that he can think about the most idiotic thing I have heard about in a very long time.

  • Tommy C

    Backing onto the Turnpike ….For Christsake these immigrants can’t drive.Thank god this idiot didn’t kill someone . Take his friggen license away,but that won’t happen we live in a NO FAULT society now . All you have to do is say i don’t remember.Guarantee he’s an illegal .

  • Moen Da Grass

    And the driver of the tanker truck? Why no mention of him? His children and grandchildren are…Relieved? Horribly written article without any regard for a man who was simply doing his job when this shoe in for a spot on the next episode World’s Worst Drivers decided to throw his minivan into reverse on an interstate.

  • christinenj

    no one deserves to be injured as they were but really, who in their right mind BACKS UP when at a toll plaza? really? you couldn’t just go a few more minutes out of your way and make a LEGAL u turn where its most probable that you will not ENDANGER 8 OTHER LIVES IN YOUR VEHICLE? c’mon. really? i see jerks do this all the time when they pass their exit. FRIKKIN STOP BEING RECKLESS and go to the next exit to turn around

  • Clark A


  • blic

    what kind of idiot backs up on the turnpike!?

  • lek

    if what the police are saying is correct, then the mini van driver is crazy

  • Paul N

    I commuted on that road for 15 years, many drivers leave too little space betwenn themselves and the car in front of them. On a busy road, that can prove deadly, thank goodness no one was really hurt too badly.

    • mgj

      It requires the length of 3 football fields to stop a loaded fuel tanker. Most professional truck drivers go through additional training for driver safety, do deal with the morons that think driving a truck is like driving a family van.

  • Jerry C

    People need to stay clear of those things on the road and give them plenty of room.

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