Daulton Banks Says He's Lucky To Be Alive, 'Sad & Hurt' That Passenger & Friend Killed

SECAUCUS, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — The driver of a van who was trapped in his vehicle after pieces of steel came crashing down on Route 3 in Secaucus talked to CBS2 about the tragic incident that killed his longtime friend.

A tractor-trailer was traveling east on Route 3 Wednesday when it appears sections of a large construction crane it was carrying struck the Paterson Plank Road overpass, authorities said.

Pieces of steel fell on a van, trapping Daulton Banks and his passenger Leonard Bowens.

Bowens, 57, of Newark, died Thursday morning, WCBS 880’s Levon Putney reported. Banks, 52, of Newark, was treated at Jersey City Medical Center and released early Thursday morning.

The tractor-trailer’s driver, Ralph Bosco, of Staten Island, was not hurt. He was ticketed by state police.

Secaucus police Detective Sgt. Michael Torres said it took rescue workers more than an hour to free Bowens from the van.

“I’m sad and hurt. I lost my friend,” Banks told CBS2’s Valerie Castro.

Banks said he heard a sound like metal crashing, scraping and glass breaking.

“I am lucky to be alive, but you don’t think like that when someone else is losing their life, or fighting for their life,” Banks said.

Banks said he has broken ribs and a broken nose, but is otherwise OK.

“I’ve been a firefighter for over 40 years,” said Secaucus Mayor Mike Gonnelli, who responded to the scene. “We see a lot of things like this. I’ve never seen anything quite like this one.”

The crash forced officials to shut down all the eastbound Route 3 express lanes and one westbound express lane, causing major travel delays. The westbound lane was later reopened.

Workers completed an emergency concrete deck repair early Thursday.

All eastbound lanes on Rt. 3 will be shut down starting Saturday night for emergency repairs on the bridge. Lanes will reopen Sunday at 10 p.m., Castro reported.

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.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.)

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