A tanker truck driver lost his life yesterday on the New Jersey Turnpike after mattresses in the road caused traffic to slow suddenly, forcing the driver to make the quick decision to swerve to save the lives of the motorists in front of him.
The incident began yesterday afternoon when several mattresses fell off a cargo van near mile marker 110 in Kearny. Vehicles swerved and braked to try to avoid the debris. Witnesses say that an SUV braked suddenly and swerved in front of a tanker, cutting it off. The tanker driver swerved to avoid hitting the SUV, sending him crashing over the right guardrail. The truck rolled over and instantly burst into flames.
Truck driver Kevin Heuer was behind the tanker and stopped to try to rescue the tanker driver, but the heat was too intense for him to get close enough.
The driver was trapped inside and was killed. He has not yet been identified.
The SUV driver was not injured during the crash.
Heuer believes the tanker driver saved lives with his action: “Whether he intended to or not, he saved those people in front of him, lives. He gave up his own, I’m sure he didn’t want to do that, but those people in that car in front of him, they could be gone.”
The northbound western spur of the New Jersey Turnpike was reopened in time for the morning commute.