LODI, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Two people were killed in a fiery crash on Interstate 80 in Lodi on Tuesday night, police said. The Honda Civic broke down in the center lane and burst into flames after being hit by a Ford pickup truck at around 11 p.m.
The truck also caught on fire, but the driver, identified as 29-year-old Vinicio Acosta, was able to get out of the vehicle. He was not injured.
The driver of the Honda, 23-year-old Esmanuel Perez of Passaic, and a passenger in the rear seat were pronounced dead at the scene, police said.
Perez’ family and friends told CBS 2’s Christine Sloan that they are heartbroken.
“He was the greatest person, the greatest person I ever met,” said Miguel Soto, Perez’ cousin.
Another passenger, 28-year-old Juan Torres of Passaic, was pulled out of the car and is listed in critical condition, police said.
It is unclear how long the Honda had been disabled and if its hazard lights were on.
State police have charged Acosta with driving with a suspended license. He is being held on $20,000 bail.