EWING, N.J. - Police yesterday released the names of four people killed in a Friday night collision on I-95 in Ewing and said alcohol was being investigated as a possible factor.
Robert William Clarke, 76, of Gaston, N.C., had an open bottle of alcohol in his Ford F150 pickup truck as he drove the wrong direction in I-95's northbound lanes around 8 p.m., said Sgt. Stephen Jones, a state police spokesman.
A state trooper who narrowly missed hitting Clarke turned around to head south to catch up with him, but by the time she reached him, his truck had collided with a Nissan Quest minivan, Jones said. The minivan's driver, Rebecca Hernandez, 28, of Princeton, and passengers Isabelle Rodriguez, 57, and Roberto Cancel, 28, both of Puerto Rico, were dead at the scene. Clarke, a former New Jersey resident visiting family in Cherry Hill, was pronounced dead at a Trenton hospital, Jones said.
Another minivan passenger, Alby Vargas of Puerto Rico, was taken to St. Mary Medical Center in Middletown Township, Bucks County, with serious injuries, police said. Three other passengers - Ricardo Sanabria, 29, of Princeton, and Elba Vargas, 55, and Victor Vargas, 21, both of Puerto Rico - suffered minor injuries.
All seven minivan passengers were related, and were returning to Princeton from a Poconos ski trip, Jones said.
A Ford Escape struck one of the two vehicles in the initial crash. Its driver, Beth Toland, 28, of Ewing, suffered minor injuries, Jones said.
All northbound lanes and one southbound lane were shut down for more than three hours in the area of the crash near the Scudder Falls Bridge, which links New Jersey and Pennsylvania.