Newark, NJ - Thirty-six passengers on a bus returning from an annual mayor’s picnic Saturday were taken to area hospitals with non-life threatening injuries after an accident on the New Jersey Turnpike, officials said.
Mayor Ras Baraka's fourth annual family reunion picnic event was held at Black Bear Lake Country Club in Millstone. Around 5:30 p.m., a bus leaving the event with 42 people was involved in an accident on the turnpike in East Brunswick, authorities said.
Seventeen of those taken to hospitals were under the age of 18, Baraka said at a press conference Saturday night at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick. The bus had overturned in the collision, the mayor added.
“These things happen, unfortunately,” Baraka said to reporters Saturday. “It’s terrible. It’s a terrible, tragic thing for us all. Scared us half to death.”
Nineteen others on the bus were taken to St. Peter's University Hospital in New Brunswick and JFK Medical Center in Edison, Baraka said.
This afternoon New Jersey State Police spokesman Sgt. Jeff Flynn said the incident was a hit-and-run and was still under investigation.
Additional information about the other vehicle involved in the accident was not immediately available.
Baraka said thousands of people go to the annual picnic, which was advertised as a family-friendly event with food, music, carnival games and senior bingo.
“By the grace of God, we all get to get up the next day and try to do this again,” Baraka said.