EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ — Thirty-six passengers on a bus returning from an annual mayor’s picnic on Saturday were taken to area hospitals with non-life-threatening injuries after an accident on the New Jersey Turnpike, according to officials.
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 on Saturday night at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick. He added that the bus had overturned in the collision.
“These things happen, unfortunately,” Baraka said. “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.
New Jersey State Police spokesman Sgt. Jeff Flynn announced that the incident was a hit-and-run and is 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.