ROXBURY, NJ – A Stanhope man died and two other people were injured today in a motor vehicle accident in Roxbury, an incident that happened at about the same time a fire hydrant was ruptured across town in another motor vehicle accident, said officials.
The fatal crash, which occurred at about 4:19 p.m. in Ledgewood, appeared to take place when a vehicle pulled out onto Howard Boulevard from the Ledgewood Plaza shopping center and was struck by a vehicle traveling on the busy road.
Roxbury police said the incident claimed the life of a 69-year-old Stanhope resident who was in a 2015 Ford Fiesta being driven by a 28-year-old man from Flanders.
The other vehicle involved in the crash, a 2004 Ford F-350 pickup, was being driven by an 18-year-old man from Sparta, police said. They did not further describe the circumstances or say whether any summonses were issued.
"All three victims were transported to the hospital," said Roxbury Police Spokesperson Jennifer Dillard. "Sadly, the 69-year-old passenger succumbed to his injuries."
The crash prompted first responders to call for paramedics and two medical evacuation helicopters. One chopper landed on the field behind Lincoln-Roosevelt School in Succasunna, but it did not transport a patient. The second was canceled as the accident survivors were rushed to hospitals via ambulances.
Roxbury Mayor Bob DeFillippo, addressing the fatal accident at Tuesday's Roxbury Mayor and Council meeting, asked residents to keep the victims in their thoughts and prayers.
Traffic Snarled Throughout the Area
The accident took place at about the same time a tractor-trailer ran over a fire hydrant at the BP station on Route 46, also in Ledgewood. The mishap left many in town with little or no water pressure and the combination of both incidents caused traffic gridlock throughout the Ledgewood, Succasunna and Kenvil areas on Route 10 and Route 46 and Howard Boulevard.
Roxbury Township Manager John Shepherd said the tractor-trailer ran over the hydrant which was attached to a 12-inch-diameter water main. Because the trailer ended up on top of the broken hydrant, township crews could not quickly turn off the valve.
The accident caused the loss of thousands of gallons of water. The system was repaired about an hour after the incident, but it took another couple of hours for full water pressure to be restored. The township told residents to run their taps to clear any cloudy water they experienced.
Shepherd said he was proud of the way township workers handled the ordeal. “Just seeing our staff in action – I’m talking about the labor crew – they really know the system and did a great job,” he said. “They really service Roxbury well, and they’re a really small crew. So kudos to them for how much they’re kind of working out there invisibly for the residents of the town.”
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