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Did negligence lead to the death of one man and several injured?

The New Jersey Turnpike Authority spent approximately $2.5 billion adding six new lanes of travel, which added nearly 170 miles of roadway between exits 6 and 9. Funding was allocated to hire 21 new road maintenance workers to provide coverage for this new section of road, and so far, 15 have been hired. Even so, the Authority could be facing litigation alleging negligence after a man died and numerous others were injured in multi-vehicle crashes that occurred during recent inclement weather on the new stretch of the roadway.

The Authority says that on the night in question, 15 plows were out clearing the new section of roads and laying down salt. However, no one has been able to pinpoint when the last pass occurred. The New Jersey State Police say that icy roads and black ice were responsible for the pileups. On that same night, the New Jersey Department of Transportation increased its plowing and salting activities in an attempt to keep black ice from forming on the roadways it maintains, which does not include the Turnpike.

One crash involved 19 vehicles and a second involved 21 vehicles. When all was said and done, 61 people suffered a variety of injuries. The man who lost his life was involved in a 13-car pileup. He died at the scene.

The DOT ordered a review of the Turnpike Authority's procedures during winter weather. As seriously injured motorists and the family of the deceased driver await the outcome of that review, they may file civil actions against all of the parties deemed responsible, possibly including the New Jersey Turnpike Authority. If negligence is proved against one or all of the parties named in those lawsuits, the courts may award damages typically seen in such accidents.

Source: nj.com, "N.J. Turnpike crews, not contractors, were responsible for salting fatal crash location, officials say", Larry Higgs, Feb. 11, 2015

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