Turnpike crash claims life of Belleville man

A Belleville man has been identified by N.J. State Police as the truck driver who died in a fiery crash on the N.J. Turnpike last week.

According to Sgt. Adam Grossman, the victim was 59-year old Angel Valverde, whose identity was released Friday, two days after the fatal accident.

The driver was pronounced dead at the scene, but positive identification had been withheld pending investigation and an autopsy.

At press time, the name of the company for which Valverde was driving was unavailable.

Police said Valverde had been travelling south on the Turnpike near Exit 7A in Mercer County around 10 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 3, when his dump truck swerved to the left and struck the concrete median and the bridge support of the I-195 overpass.

The truck overturned and exploded in flames, trapping Valverde in the wreckage.

The cause of the accident is not known, and the investigation is continuing.

Both the Turnpike and I-195 were closed for hours after the wreck, causing massive delays on the two highways and surrounding roadways.

The Turnpike did not reopen completely until 8 p.m.

Authorities also said flames damaged the bridge abutment at the overpass and I-195 traffic is expected to be affected for several weeks.

— Karen Zautyk

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