News

Authorities: Driver In Fatal Route 3 Crash Near Lincoln Tunnel Was Drunk

A fatal crash on Route 3 in North Bergen, N.J. on July 3, 2014. (credit: CBS 2)

A fatal crash on Route 3 in North Bergen, N.J. on July 3, 2014. (credit: CBS 2)

NORTH BERGEN, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) – Authorities say preliminary tests show a Massachusetts man was driving drunk when his car crashed near the Lincoln Tunnel, killing him and two other people.

Hudson County Sheriff Frank Schillari says investigators also found cocaine, marijuana and several prescription bottles of sleep and pain medications in the car.

The single-vehicle crash occurred around 5:40 a.m. Thursday on a Route 3 East ramp in North Bergen that merges into Route 495.

The vehicle struck a guardrail and became airborne, then landed on the driver’s side door and slid about 153 feet before hitting a light pole and breaking apart.

People who saw the scene were stunned.

“It’s a scene out of a war. That looks like a mortar hit that car,” said Union City resident Mike Letourneaut. “It’s mind blowing to see a car like that.”

“Look at that car — the fender’s up in the tree, the trunk is over there, the engine’s over there, and the rest of the car is wrapped around the pole,” said Lyndhurst resident Mondo Pagnozzi.

All three lanes of Route 3 were shut down for more than two hours following the crash, causing lengthy traffic backups in the area for several hours.

Killed in the crash were the driver, 34-year-old Miguel Barreto Jr. of Leominster, and two passengers, 32-year-old Margarita Santiago of Passaic and 37-year-old Hector Perez, also of Leominister.

Barreto’s sister, Vivian, told The Record that her brother had taken their mother’s car to New Jersey to pick up their cousin, Santiago, and drive her to Massachusetts to meet his two daughters. Further details on the victims were not disclosed.

There was a similar deadly accident in the same spot almost a year ago.

Three people were killed and two others injured last August when their 2008 Dodge Charger veered off Route 3 eastbound near the 495 interchange.

Check Out These Other Stories From CBSNewYork.com:

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)