NORTH BERGEN, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A devastating crash in Hudson County left three people dead early Thursday morning.

The crash occurred around 5:30 a.m. on Route 3 where the highway meets Interstate 495 in North Bergen, on the way to the Lincoln Tunnel.


Miguel Barreto, Jr., 34, of Leominster, Massachusetts, and Margarita Santiago, 32, of Passaic, were killed, officials said. Another man whose name has not been released was also killed. Authorities said he was also from Massachusetts.

“After striking the guardrail, the vehicle had gone airborne, landing sideways on the driver’s-side door,” Hudson County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Mike Makarski told WCBS 880. “After landing, the car slid approximately 150 feet, where it struck a light pole.”

The impact was so severe that the Mercedes, which had Massachusetts plates, split into at least three pieces, CBS 2’s Andrea Grymes reported.

People who watched law enforcement process 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.

Route 3 eastbound was closed for hours. At one point, traffic was backed up all the way to Route 21 in Clifton, 1010 WINS’ Pete Tauriello reported.

The accident is under investigation.

“Based on preliminary reports, we believe speed to be a factor in the crash,” Makarski said.

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. All of the victims were men between the ages of 19 and 30, police said.

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