UNION CITY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – A giant piece of the puzzle as to what caused a major crash near the Lincoln Tunnel may have been revealed.
A Union City garbage truck driver spoke exclusively with CBS2 about the moments that led to him barreling into three cars and tumbling off an overpass onto Route 495 in New Jersey.
That accident injured 12 people, including the driver, and crippled the holiday weekend commute for thousands heading into the Garden State on Wednesday.
Eulalio Diaz spoke with CBS2’s Dave Carlin moments after returning home from the hospital on Thursday.
The Department Of Public Works truck driver was still in pain after surgery on his arm.
People who witnessed the crash said they saw Diaz flailing his arms as the truck careened towards the on Palisades Avenue fence.
They wondered if he was having a seizure or heart attack. The driver said that wasn’t the case.
“I was ok. It got accelerated. I couldn’t control it,” Diaz said.
“I don’t know what happened, but I tried to stop the truck and I didn’t want to hit any people any cars”
Diaz added that he thought the fence would stop his out of control truck from crashing into anyone else.
The truck remained on Route 495 throughout the evening rush causing, closing the major highway from new York City as well as the Lincoln Tunnel for several hours.
Diaz told CBS2 he never mistakenly hit the accelerator
The injured driver’s voice nearly gave out as he was led up to his apartment to rest – unable to answer any more questions.
“I think he was trying not to kill anybody that’s what I was thinking and he wound up going over. He wound up going over. Thank God it’s a garbage truck, they don’t crush, they stay strong,” neighbor Rene Gutierrez said.
Diaz said he returns to the hospital Friday for follow-up medical tests and there will be follow-up questions from investigators as well about the cause of Wednesday’s chaos.