Four people were injured, one of them seriously, during a fiery chain-reaction crash in Hamilton Township Saturday morning.
Police said 39-year-old Nicholas Gareffi, of Vineland, was driving a 2008 Chevrolet Silverado east on Route 40 near milepost 43.7 shortly before 8:45 a.m., when his pickup truck crossed the center line into oncoming traffic.
The Chevy slammed head-on into a 2007 Mitsubishi box truck driven by 48-year-old Darrel Jacobs, of Vineland, according to investigators.
Police said the Chevy then struck a 2011 Volkswagen Jetta that was driving behind the box truck.
The impact caused the Volkswagen to spin off the roadway and crash into the front yard of a nearby residence, police said.
Investigators said the Chevy then veered off the highway and struck several trees before bursting into flames, drawing a response from the Mays Landing Volunteer Fire Company and the New Jersey Forest Fire Service.
Gareffi was taken to AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center for evaluation, police said. The driver of the box truck was not injured.
The driver of the Volkswagen, 18-year-old Madelyn Williscroft, of Linwood, sustained injuries police characterized as “mild to moderate,” as did two juvenile passengers. All three of them were hospitalized.
A third juvenile passenger in the Volkswagen suffered serious injuries and was airlifted to AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center's City Campus, police said.
Route 40 was closed between Klondyke and Allegheny avenues for about two hours as officials from the Hamilton Township Police Department and the New Jersey State Police investigated and cleaned up the crash.
They received assistance from the Atlantic County Park Rangers, AtlantiCare paramedics and rescue squads from Hamilton Township, Hammonton and Galloway.
Police said no charges have yet been filed in connection with the crash, but that officers are continuing to review the incident.