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.”
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