A multi-vehicle accident trapped two inside an overturned car after one driver failed to stop at a red light, police said.
At 7 p.m. at Route 37 and Hospital Drive, the two-vehicle crash shuttered portions of the intersection for about an hour and sent Toms River Police and Toms River Fire Co. No. 2 to the scene.
Toms River Police Chief Michael Mastronardy said that Derek Fix, 20, of Bayville was driving a 2011 KIA westbound on Route 37, when according to witnesses he failed to stop for a red traffic signal.
The Kia collided with a 2003 Ford Explorer as it was crossing the intersection from the Hospital Drive jughandle, Mastronardy said.
Benjamin Dizon 44 of Toms River was driving the Explorer, which then rolled onto its side after the collision, said the police chief. Dizon and his passenger Ofelia Lagmandizon, 44 of Toms River were transported to Community Medical Center, the hospital at the intersection of the crash.
Fire Chief Jeff Cirz, of Station 26 was the first arriving Fire Officer, followed by Station 25 Chief John Gonzalez.
"They observed a two car motor vehicle crash, no fire, with one vehicle on its passenger side, with two persons trapped inside," said Toms River District 1 Chief John H. Lightbody.
Rescue 2561 from Station 25 was the first arriving unit, along with Rescue 2624 of Station 26, Lightbody said.
Cirz directed Station 26's unit to stabilize the vehicle, Station 25's rescue was directed to perform a roof removal in order for Toms River EMS to gain access to and treat the patients, said the fire chief. "The roof was removed within twenty two minutes by the fire/rescue units on scene."
The patients were removed on backboards and turned over to EMS and paramedics for further care. Additional patients from the second vehicle were also treated by Toms River EMS, said the fire chief.
"The operation went smoothly and the patients were removed expeditiously in a safe manner," Lightbody said.
Eastbound traffic was limited to one lane for about an hour after the accident that is being investigated by Traffic safety Officers Robert Westfall and David Bartoshek.
Original post, 7:15 p.m.:
Lanes are closed on both the west- and eastbound sides of Route 37 after a multi-vehicle accident in the right-hand lane of 37 westbound at 7 p.m., police said.
The collision occurred near Hospital Drive, and motorists currently cannot access the thoroughfare while authorities investigate.
Traffic is mounting from the Garden State Parkway and Route 37 westbound, Toms River police confirmed. Drivers heading west on Route 37 after Route 166 can expect a heavy merge into the two left lanes after the parkway, while traffic is slow eastbound to Oak Ridge Parkway.
Tow trucks are currently removing vehicles from the scene, although an overturned SUV remains.
Toms River Police and EMS are on the scene at Hospital Drive, as is Fire Company 2, which extricated two motorists from their vehicles.
The extent of injuries and cause of the accident was not immediately available, emergency response and investigation are under way.