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Authorities preparing summonses in Route 3 container crash in Rutherford

Photo Credit: PJ Cotter
Photo Credit: PJ Cotter

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: A 39-year-old Westchester driver was pronounced dead at the scene a little over an hour after a shipping container fell off a flatbed truck and crushed him after hitting a Route 3 overpass in Rutherford yesterday afternoon, authorities said this morning.

Investigators were preparing motor vehicle charges against the Clifton trucker, they said.

A preliminary review of the events produced a release issued by Rutherford Police Capt. Patrick Feliciano, leading to this report:

James Hart III was behind the wheel of a 2014 Honda in the westbound highway’s furthest right lane when the container hit the Orient Way overpass in the next lane over just after 2 p.m.

It then “careened off the overpass” and landed on top of Hart’s car on the driver’s side, Feliciano said.

He identified the driver of the 1992 Peterbilt tractor as 50-year-old Ali Mutakabb.

“The investigation is ongoing and motor vehicle summonses are pending,” the captain said.

HUMC paramedics made the death pronouncement at 3:17 p.m., he said.

Meanwhile, westbound Route 3 remained closed between Route 17 and the overpass until about 9 p.m.

Responders included Rutherford Police Officers Stephen Batchelor, Fuad Lindov, Steven Villareale and William Gumbman, as well as firefighters from Rutherford, Lyndhurst and Wallington, the Rutherford Volunteer Ambulance Corps and Hackensack University Medical Center Paramedic Unit, Feliciano said in the release issued this morning.

Also responding were the Bergen County Fatal Accident Investigation Unit, the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office Bureau of Criminal Identification and the county Bureau of Police Services Truck Unit.

Nick’s Towing removed the vehicles, while East Rutherford police and the New Jersey Department of Transportation handled the road closure and detour.

PHOTO: PJ Cotter

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