HAWTHORNE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A small plow clearing a pedestrian bridge fell through it and landed on a van traveling below late Monday morning, Hawthorne Police said.
The incident happened at around 11 a.m. on Route 208. The plow was clearing heavy, wet snow left over from Sunday night’s storm.
CBS2’s Tara Jakeway saw what was left of the commercial van. A man was behind the wheel of the Bobcat when it fell through a gap in the walkway and crashed onto the passing van, narrowly missing the driver.
Firefighters worked to pry the unidentified man free. Just inches away, the passenger side was completely obliterated.
The New Jersey Department of Transportation said the bridge is not designed to carry vehicles and it is looking into how the accident could’ve happened. Hawthorne Police said three men were injured and taken to local hospitals, but all are expected to be OK.
Traffic was tied up for hours at lunchtime. Vehicles were diverted off the highway all afternoon. Many of the motorists CBS2 spoke to were late to pick up their kids at school.
“I’m just shocked. I’m horrified. That’s a shame that that happened,” said Cheryl Dunlap of Oakland.
Dunlap said she sat in traffic for 45 minutes en route to get her son, but like most parents in the detour line she was just happy to hear everyone survived.
Mario Illescas said he takes Route 208 to work every day, but because of the storm he headed in late.
“Weather makes it dangerous. People have to take their time, not rush to a job. You got to be safe,” Illescas said.
The NJDOT said it inspects pedestrian bridges every five years. The bridge in Monday’s incident was last inspected in 2013 and was due for another one this year.
Workers were expected to work through the night at the scene in an effort to have Route 208 open Tuesday morning.