What to Know
- The driver of the public works truck that lost control and hit cars before flipping off an overpass onto Route 495 spoke to News 4 Friday
- Bandaged and shirtless, speaking in a hoarse voice and suffering from several broken ribs, the driver described a harrowing few moments
- He said he kept pumping the brakes but the truck kept going; he says he tried to smash into a fence first to help cushion the blow
The driver of the public works truck that flipped over an overpass near the Lincoln Tunnel helix Wednesday, creating a shocking spectacle and wreaking traffic havoc for hours, described a harrowing few moments in which he desperately tried to save lives on the ground while doing what he could to keep his own.
He somehow lost control of the truck in Union City -- and it rolled off the overpass and onto the busy Route 495 as commuters were hurriedly trying to get where they were going to kick off their long holiday weekends. Bandaged and shirtless, suffering from a broken shoulder and three broken ribs, the driver told News 4 Friday he was trying to pump the brakes but the truck didn't stop.
"The best thing I did was try to hit a fence to cushion the blow; it went down slowly, it didn't go straight down," the driver said. And though he says he couldn't see other vehicles as he plunged toward them, he says, "I tried the best I could to save people's lives. It was amazing."
"Not too many drivers could make it," the man said, sounding extremely hoarse as gaping lacerations stood out on his bald head. "I walk out with life ... I thank God for that miracle."
A dozen people were hurt in the multi-vehicle wreck, but no critical injuries were reported, when the truck lost control around 1 p.m. Wednesday, ramming into several cars on 30th Street and leaving a path of mangled cars and a downed clock tower in its wake. The truck then crashed through the fence and went over the westbound side of the overpass. Had the fence not been able to slow down the truck, the driver said he and many others could have been far worse off.
The accident effectively shut down the Lincoln Tunnel for hours. A miles-long line of buses coming from Port Authority was seen crawling by even hours later.
The accident remains under investigation.