ONLY ON CLIFFVIEW PILOT: Dramatic photos show a group of men desperately trying in vain to rescue two people killed last night when a pickup truck rear-ended a disabled vehicle that then burst into flames in the eastbound local lanes of Route 80 in Lodi.
A witness who summoned police after the 11 p.m. crash said the pickup rammed the disabled car from behind just past Exit 63 at the Route 80 Express changeover lanes.
NJSP Lt. Stephen Jones said the Honda Civic had become disabled in the center lane when it was struck by the Ford F-150 pickup driven by 29-year-old Vinicio Acosta of Bogota.
Acosta is being held on $20,000 bail in the Bergen County Jail, charged with being involved in a fatal accident while driving on the suspended list.
Photos for CLIFFVIEWPILOT.COM by Jose Guerra (MrGuerra.com) . No re-use without hyperlink.
Killed in the crash, Jones said, were the driver of the Civic — identified as Esmanuel Perez, 24, of Passaic — and an unidentified backseat passenger.
A group of men at the scene managed to get a man out of the vehicle. Identified as Juan Torres, 28, of Passaic, he was listed in critical condition this morning at Hackensack University Medical Center.
Acosta, meanwhile, had minor burns on his arms, Jones said.
Professional photographer Jose Guerra came upon the scene and immediately began taking shots from the other side of the road.
Guerra watched as Torres was pulled from the car before flames engulfed the rear.
“The driver of the pickup truck was trying to pull the driver-side door open,” Guerra told CLIFFVIEW PILOT .
“After trying numerous times, they gave up and went to the passenger side and got [Torres] out,” he said.
“At that point, all we could do is watch the car burn,” Guerra said.
“It’s so sad.”
State Police diverted all traffic to the express lanes.
The local lanes remained closed late into the night while their investigators conducted an “extended operation.”
Also at the scene were police, fire and other emergency workers from Lodi.
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