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Police Searching For The Cause Of The Deadly Crash On Route 17 In New Jersey

Police Searching For The Cause Of The Deadly Crash On Route 17 In New Jersey (Credit: CBS 2)

Police Searching For The Cause Of The Deadly Crash On Route 17 In New Jersey (Credit: CBS 2)

HASBROUCK HEIGHTS, N.J. (CBSNewYork) - Police are searching for the cause of a deadly crash that happened on Saturday morning in Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey.

The charred and twisted metal of a tractor-trailer that slammed into an office building on Route 17 was removed on Saturday night. The crash caused a huge explosion of fire. CBS 2’s Dick Brennan said that the accident was too close for comfort for those living nearby.

“I jumped out of my skin, to be exact,” said a man who lives close to where the crash occurred.

People who live on Hasbrouck Avenue behind the building said that they heard two blasts, the second from the truck’s fuel tank rupturing.

“I heard a big explosion and said, ‘That sounded like thunder,’ and thought, ‘Oh my god, these summer storms are getting worse and worse,'” said Munier Khoury. “And then when I heard the second one I thought, ‘That’s not thunder.'”

Police said that the truck veered off Route 17 around 7 a.m. before plowing into a building and killing the driver. Fortunately nobody was in the office building.

“It’s my place of business, it’s pretty devastating,” said a man who didn’t want to give his name. His computer school is on the second floor. “Thank god it happened on a weekend when no one would be there.”

The building also houses offices for OSHA, a federal agency, and a few other businesses.

When asked if he had any idea what caused the crash, Detective Alan Baker of the Hasbrouck Heights Police Department replied, “I can’t speculate on that. I have to finish the investigation first.”

The Department of Environmental Protection was on the scene because there were some chemicals on the truck, but none were found to be hazardous. But residents said that the road being so close to homes is a hazard.

“I would like to have a higher guardrail so they couldn’t run into the building,” said resident Gerald Donohue.

The owner of the trailer, Land Air Express, could not be reached for comment.

Were you in Hasbrouck Heights when the crash occurred? Let us know what you saw or heard in the comments section below…