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3 Killed In Crash Involving Tractor-Trailer, Several Vehicles On I-280 In East Orange

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A deadly accident claimed three lives on a busy road in East Orange, New Jersey Wednesday, and investigators have been trying to figure out just how it happened.

The accident happened at around 10:30 a.m. Wednesday. A garbage-hauling tractor-trailer crashed into at least five other vehicles in the eastbound lanes at exit 12 -- the exit for the Garden State Parkway, CBS 2's Jim Smith reported from Chopper 2.

As CBS 2's Christine Sloan reported, cellphone video shot at the scene showed a car engulfed in flames.

"I heard something go, 'Kaboom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom!' I came on around, and then I see what's happening out here right now," said witness Willie Rush.

New Jersey State Police said Michael DeVito, 65, of North Bergen, New Jersey, was driving the 2000 Mack dump truck when he apparently lost control of his vehicle, New Jersey State Police said.

The Honda that caught fire took the brunt of the impact. Three people inside of it were killed.

"It's terrible, look at it, that's a lot of fire," one witness said as he showed cellphone video he shot to WCBS 880's Levon Putney.

3 Killed In Crash Involving Tractor-Trailer, Several Vehicles On I-280 In East Orange

Drivers stuck behind the accident were overwhelmed with sadness.

"O Lord Jesus," said Patricia Hobbs. "God bless their families. This is a tragedy."

Other witnesses described how some tried to get the victims out of the fiery car in which they were trapped. But the intense flames after the tragic accident kept them back.

The truck is owned by Direct Waste Services, based in Belleville, New Jersey. The truck driver survived and was taken to an area hospital, authorities said.

Investigators Wednesday afternoon were trying to piece together what happened, including whether mechanical problems, speed issues or other actions on the part of the truck driver might have been to blame.

A woman and two children in another car were also hospitalized following the crash. Police were not releasing the names of the people who were killed late Wednesday afternoon.

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