JERSEY CITY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A deadly crash has devastated two families in Jersey City and police say the driver responsible was either high or drunk.

It is a terrible loss for the tight-knit family of 44-year-old James Fuller.

“He was a great man. He did everything he could for his family,” Fuller’s wife, Debra, told CBS 2’s Tony Aiello.

Fuller was a passenger in a taxi that was rear-ended by an alleged impaired driver Wednesday night. The impact caused the taxi to burst into flames and slam into 41-year-old pedestrian Jairo “Jay” Camelo.

“He was a wonderful person, he will be missed. Leaves a great void in our hearts,” Camelo’s cousin, Omar Reyes, said.

Reyes set up a memorial shrine to his cousin, who was a successful architect and married with a 4-year-old son.

“It’s just terrible. We’re devastated, we really are,” Reyes said.

Police have charged the driver, 34-year-old Herman Chandler, who was allegedly driving the black SUV that rear-ended the taxi. Chandler is an ex-con who cops think was drunk or high at the time of the accident.

“Just give me a reason why you had to take my husband from me?” Debra Fuller tearfully asked.

She said she grew worried Wednesday night when her husband didn’t make his usual call to say he’d arrived at work. She and a relative began driving to his job site, when they came across the accident scene.

“And we saw all the lights and we just knew when we saw all the lights,” Fuller said.

At the scene, workers and patrons from a nearby restaurant ran outside with fire extinguishers trying to reach the victims in the flaming taxi.

“It’s horrible. It’s a very big feeling that you have that no matter how much you try to do to get the person out, there’s very little that you could do,” witness Cynthia Cortes said.

Share your thoughts in the comments section below…

Comments (5)
  1. Osbourne says:

    Mug shot please?

  2. citizen says:

    Grand Street is too dangerous. The city allowed it to be turned into a double lane highway enabling cars to speed through. The area around Grand and Grove has built up over the years and this kind of accident was inevitable with so many more cars pedestrians.

    Hopefully the city will realize this and change Grand street back to a two way single lane road with parking along both sides of the street.

    That would make more sense for a densely populated area and it would be safer.

  3. RB says:

    He was a loving husband, a fantastic father and the best brother in law you could ask for.

  4. demps says:

    God bless the families of those that were victims of this man. I was at the intersection of Grand and Jersey Ave in my car when the SUV went by at 60-70 mph. When I turned the corner I saw the devastation he caused. I pray he will spend the rest of his life behind bars.

  5. Bullett says:

    No mention if blood or urine samples taken within the hours after the accident. Any follow up on this by CBS or 1010 please?

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