Police & Fire

South Brunswick: Police Piece Together Route 130 Bus Crash, Transit Company Issues Statement

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Police spent Friday morning re-creating yesterday's bus crash on Route 130 that injured seven people, two seriously. Credits: Charles W. Kim photos
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SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ – As township police officers and New Jersey State Troopers returned to the scene of Thursday morning’s bus crash on Route 130 to reconstruct the accident, Suburban Transit vowed to cooperate with the investigation.

A Suburban Transit Coach bus, driven by Jamal Penten, 30, of Lakewood, plowed into nine cars waiting for a red traffic light around 6:30 a.m. Thursday morning at the Route 130 south and Friendship Road intersection, according to police.

The impact drove many of the cars off the right hand side of the road or into the median between the north and southbound lanes.

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Capt. Jim Ryan said that the bus struck all of the nine other vehicles involved in the accident, and the Monmouth Junction Fire Department had to cut two of the drivers out of their vehicles.

Those drivers, Ryan said, suffered the most serious injuries in the crash with a 61-year-old Princeton woman suffering a fractured pelvis and ribs along with a Brick man, 35, with a fractured back.

Emergency workers took both, in serious condition, to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick for treatment, Ryan said.

Another driver, identified as a 42-year-old Dayton man, also went to that hospital for a head laceration where he was treated and released.

Workers transported four other drivers to area hospitals with lesser injuries, and two drivers refused medical treatment at the scene, Ryan said.

One lane of Route 130 south was closed for two hours during the morning commute as police cleared the scene.

Sgt. Gary Holsten and other officers returned on Friday morning to use laser mapping to re-construct the accident.

“With the help of state police, Imark and the Department of Transportation, we have shut down traffic in the affected area that we will be diagraming,” Holsten said. “With the laser mapping system we have, we can do a two-dimension scale diagram.”

On Thursday, officers placed small red flags to show the resting places of the vehicles that went off the road, or in the median, following the crash.

They also used paint marks for the vehicles that were on the pavement.

Holsten said that the paint used would wash off the grass and that is why the small flags are used.

Using the laser system, the points designated by the paint and flags are then put into a computer program using triangulation to produce the detailed two-dimensional model of the accident, he said.

Holsten said the model is interactive so that officers can also input variables, such as speeds or angles of impact to re-create what happened during the investigation portion of the case.

The re-creation of the crash caused the right lane of Route 130 to be closed from 9 a.m. until around noon.

Suburban Transit, the bus company involved in the accident, put out a statement and said it would “fully cooperate” with the investigation.

“Safety is our top priority and Suburban Transit is fully cooperating with the authorities with their investigation into the incident,” Spokesman Sean Hughes said in the statement.

Hughes said that Penten had worked for the company since last September.

Suburban Transit owns a fleet of 300 busses and runs commuter and local service from the township into New York, according to the company.

The company started with just four busses in 1941, according to its website.

The investigation to the accident is active and ongoing, police said.

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