BERNARDS TWP., NJ - Ling Ling Chinese Cuisine has posted a sign on its door and website telling customers the restaurant will remain closed until Thursday following last Saturday's fatal crash on Route 287 that involved a van carrying Ling Ling staff.
On Monday evening, two nights after the multi-vehicle pileup that killed three and injured a dozen others, the restaurant at the Riverwalk shopping center was dark, although some employees were within.
Two of the van's 12 passengers were among those who were pronounced dead at the scene of the Nov. 28 crash, which occurred at about 10:30 p.m. on Saturday on Interstate 287 northbound near milepost 29.1 in Bernards Township, state police said.
The note signed by "Ling Ling" is addressed "To Our Dear Customers and Friends," and continues, "As you may have heard, due to a tragic accident, Ling Ling will be closed until December 3rd. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends affected by this terrible tragedy. Words cannot express our grief for those we have lost far too soon."
Eleven other occupants of the passenger van, reported as residing either in Morristown or various boroughs in New York City, were transported to area hospitals, according to a state police release later on Sunday.
Based on a state police preliminary investigation, detectives said that Troy Chase, 43, of Pittston, Maine, was driving a 2003 Dodge Ram truck with passenger Peter Poland northbound on the highway in the area of milepost 29.1, Chase stopped on the right shoulder in order to repair a cattle trailer that he was towing, the release said.
At 10:32 p.m., Ravi Naik, 23, of Hillsborough, driving a 2013 Hyundai Elantra, struck the cattle trailer that was disabled in the right shoulder, police said. After the collision, Naik parked on the right shoulder and exited his vehicle, according to the report.
At that time, the 2003 Ford passenger van occupied by the Ling Ling staff, and reportedly driven by Xu Feng Ma, address not reported, was also heading northbound with 12 passengers when he traveled onto the right shoulder, struck the guardrail, the cattle trailer, and then the Dodge truck, according to the state police release.
The van continued northbound on the right shoulder and struck the pedestrian, Naik, before heading across the northbound lanes and striking the left guardrail, according to the police report. Naik was pronounced dead at the scene about an hour later, and Chase, who sustained minor injuries, was transported to Overlook Medical Center in Summit, the police report said.
Two passengers in the van, who were not identified on Sunday, were pronounced dead at the accident scene at 1:40 a.m. on Sunday morning.
"Please keep [accident victims] in your thoughts"
The note from the Ling Ling management asked the public to keep the accident victims "in your thoughts as we work through this difficult time. We are grateful for the kind treatment we have received from the community these past 13 years and are thankful for your continuous support." The Riverwalk center is located off Martinsville Road in Basking Ridge.
The release said the passengers in the Ford van who received non-llife-threatening injuries, were as follows:
• Xu Feng Ma was transported to Morristown Medical Center in Morristown
• Yupu Ma, 52, of Woodhaven, N.Y. was transported to Robert Wood Johnson Hospital in New Brunswick
• Erick Jiminez, 18, of Morristown, was transported to Robert Wood Johnson Hospital
• Engleton Jiminez was transported to Robert Wood Johnson Hospital
• Hwa Chieng, 64, of Flushing, N.Y., was transported to Morristown Medical Center
• Tao Qing Wu, 59, of Brooklyn, N.Y., was transported to Morristown Medical Center
• Duong Quoc, 54, of Brooklyn, N.Y., was transported to Morristown Medical Center
• Yoxeng Tan, 55, of Brooklyn, N.Y., was transported to Robert Wood Johnson Hospital
• Huijo He, 55, of New York, N.Y., was transported to Robert Wood Johnson Hospital
• Gudiel Jiminez, 18, of Morristown, was transported to Robert Wood Johnson Hospital
• Kui Tung, 47, of Brooklyn, N.Y., was transported to Robert Wood Johnson Hospital
As of Sunday afternoon, state police said the crash remained under investigation, and no charges had been filed at that time. The release added that additional information would not be immediately available.