NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Police were examining the wreckage of a bus that crashed on the New Jersey Turnpike Monday night to try to figure out why it crashed.
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New Jersey State police said driver Driver Wei Wang and passenger Troy Nguyen died in the crash and five people were in critical condition at Robert Wood Johnson Hospital.
All five were passengers on board the chartered bus that crashed in the Turnpike’s southbound lanes just beyond Exit 9 around 9 p.m. Monday.
The bus had 44 to 45 people on board and was operated by Super Luxury Tours out of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. It was coming from Chinatown in Lower Manhattan and headed for Philadelphia.
Investigators said no other vehicles were involved when the bus rode up onto the grassy center median and then struck an overpass support, before it crashed into an embankment on the right side of the road.
Investigators were examining the bus wreckage to determine what caused the fatal crash. State police Sgt. Stephen Jones said officials are trying to determine if a flat tire caused the bus to lose control or if it blew on impact, and that it appeared to be a one-vehicle incident.
“It kind of just went on a gentle angle off the road and we’re not seeing a lot of sliding to the side or anything like that,” Jones said. “There are pieces of a blown tire that were retrieved and put into evidence. There are some people who said they believed they felt a tire blow prior to the accident.”
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Wang, a 50-year-old Taiwanese national who lived in Forest Hills, N.Y., was thrown through the windshield, and several passengers were badly injured, Jones said.
The medical examiner’s office will perform an autopsy to determine whether the driver suffered any medical issue prior to the crash.
Nguyen, 20, of Royserford, Pa., died after being transported to a hospital in New Brunswick.
Nguyen’s uncle, Luan Nguyen, spoke to CBS 2’s John Metaxas about the fatal injury sustained by his nephew.
“He was taken to [Robert Wood Johnson University] hospital and was announced dead when he got there,” he said.
Nguyen was also remembered Tuesday by his friend and fellow student Steven Mullahy, who was also injured in the crash.
In a statement, Mullahy called Nguyen a “beautiful person, a beloved son and one of the most amazing friends that I have had the privilege of meeting on the face of this planet.”
State Police intended to mechanically inspect the bus Tuesday and review any available data from its electronic components, all in an effort to help determine what caused this crash.
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