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Harvest festival accident at popular New Jersey farm kills one

CHESTER TOWNSHIP, N.J. - One person was killed and several others were seriously injured after tragedy struck a fall festival in New Jersey on Sunday.

It was a perfect autumn afternoon with thousands descending on Alstede Farms in Chester Township.

"This was supposed to be a fun day -- pumpkin picking and hay rides. It's not supposed to be sadness," farm visitor Kelly Teicher told CBS New York.

But when two shuttle buses collided in a parking lot, fairgoers were struck. Small children were among some of the seriously injured.

Ambulances, police cars and medivac helicopters quickly descended on the fall festival grounds.

"One was transported via helicopter. The other was transported via ambulance," said Chester Township Mayor Bill Cogger.

Mayor Cogger said he's been sounding the alarm for years about traffic jams on weekends in and out of the farm.

"No one is more frustrated than I am," he said.

Neighbors said they too have voiced concerns.

"It is completely unconscionable, it is absurd to have this amount of traffic with no oversight. We have repeatedly complained to Alstede," said resident Andrew O'Connor.

But New Jersey laws put farm regulations in the hands of the state, so local hands have been tied, Gusoff reported.

"I've been here every year. It's always crowded but this was especially crowded, but I think the parking coming in and out maybe that was an issue over there," said visitor Neil Teicher.

As one of the shuttle buses was hauled away with visible bumper damage, Alstede Farms management had no comment on the incident, saying they are dealing with the tragedy as a family and company.

An employee said they are all shaken.

"We are closing early," Heather Barker said. "A lot of people are really upset."

Until recently, Alstede was a farm stand, but then morphed into a regional attraction that now draws tens of thousands of visitors on fall weekends.

The mayor said it was an accident waiting to happen, Gusoff reported.

The Morris County Prosecutor is investigating the accident and has not yet identified the victims.

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