SOUTH BRUNSWICK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Traffic was on the New Jersey Turnpike in South Brunswick was back to normal on Thursday night, after a crash involving a military vehicle.
Now, investigators are trying to figure out what caused the accident that injured four soldiers.
The accident took place in the southbound lanes of the turnpike, just north of exit 8A, in South Brunswick at around 2:45 p.m.
One of the soldiers, a woman, reportedly had a leg amputated in the wreck.
All of the injured were rushed to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick.
U.S. Army Reserves spokesman Sean Morris told WCBS 880 that the soldiers are with the Army Reserves 533rd Brigade Support Battalion, at Fort Totten in Queens. It was not clear where they were going at the time of the accident.
Two men injured in the accident were in serious condition, while a third man and the woman were in critical condition.
As CBS2’s Tracee Carrasco reported, drivers who saw the accident pulled over and immediately tried to help. Witnesses tried to lift the vehicle off the soldiers who were trapped underneath.
“All I saw was a military Humvee upside down – it was flipped – it was upside down. So my first instinct was to run over the scene and make sure everybody was OK, and anything I could do and any sort of help I can give,” said witness Tarr Harris. “Once the firefighters came; when fire trucks came from Monroe Township, they – I don’t know what they did, but they used some brick, or some type of wood, I guess, so they just lifted it up – I guess – a little bit, and they got the guys out of there.”
Speaking with CBS2 by phone Boyd Smith explained how he and others tried to rescue the soldiers who were trapped and waiting for help.
“So we jumped out and tried to intervene and help out and there was a guy there who was like ‘nah, we can’t move it, we have to wait for the jaws of life or something,” he said, “I just hope that the lady that was amputated is alright. I wish her well, and the other three guys get well, and hope they’re okay.”
Two Medevac helicopters landed on the turnpike to take the injured away.
The Humvee involved in the accident completely overturned and lost a wheel.
By 5 p.m., three of the southbound lanes of the turnpike had reopened near the scene. But there was a 12-mile backup on the southbound side, and northbound traffic was also slowed by a gapers delay. Around 6 p.m. traffic finally began moving again once the scene was clear.
Click here to check current traffic conditions.