On Thursday evening, the Manchester Township Police Department responded to a collision involving three vehicles, including a tractor-trailer, at the intersection of State Highway Route 70 and County Route 539.
Upon their arrival, officers discovered a heavily damaged silver 2013 Hyundai Elantra situated in the left turn lane of County Route 539. Nearby, a 2020 Toyota Sienna was facing north, partially obstructing the northbound lane of County Route 539, showing significant damage to the driver and passenger sides of the vehicle. In addition, a blue 2016 Peterbilt tractor-trailer was found at the intersection of State Highway Route 70 and County Route 539 with noticeable damage to the driver’s side wheel well.
The driver of the Hyundai Elantra, 45-year-old Lisa Kopcho from Manchester, NJ, sustained non-life-threatening injuries. She was subsequently transported via the Manchester Township Division of Emergency Services Ambulance to Community Medical Center in Toms River, NJ, for treatment and evaluation. Currently, she is listed in stable condition. The driver of the Toyota, 27-year-old Hanna Ruark, emerged from the accident unharmed. The operator of the tractor-trailer, 47-year-old Denell Sanders from Bear, Delaware, reported minor right knee pain but did not require hospital transport. A female passenger of the tractor-trailer, 47-year-old Khalilah Hickman, sustained non-life-threatening injuries and was transported to Community Medical Center by South Toms River EMS. She, too, is presently listed in stable condition.
The investigation revealed that the Toyota was traveling north on County Route 539 and entered the intersection of State Highway Route 70 through a red traffic signal. Simultaneously, the tractor-trailer, which had a green traffic signal, was executing a right turn from State Highway Route 70 westbound onto County Route 539 northbound.
The Toyota collided with the driver’s side of the tractor-trailer, causing the Toyota to be pushed into the southbound turning lane on County Route 539. There, it collided with the stationary Hyundai Elantra, impacting its front end.
As a result of the accident, State Highway Route 70 and County Route 539 experienced partial closures, leading to traffic delays while officers conducted their investigation.
The investigation into this crash is still ongoing, but the primary contributing factor, at this stage, appears to be the failure to observe a traffic signal.
Assisting at the scene were EMTS from the Manchester Township Division of Emergency Services, South Toms River EMS, and members of the Whiting Fire Department. This crash is being investigated by Patrolman Brendan Brush of the Manchester Township Police Department’s Traffic Safety Unit.