On May 1, 2003, about 2:11 a.m., eastern daylight time, a 1998 Mercedes Benz CLK320, driven by a 34-year-old off-duty police officer, was traveling southbound on U.S. Route 1 through the city of Linden in Union County, New Jersey. The vehicle was traveling in the right lane of a six-lane divided highway. The weather was clear, and the roadway was dry, except for a puddle of water adjacent to a service station on the west side of the roadway. Near milepost 41.4, the Mercedes, traveling 48 to 62 mph, hit the curb on the west side of the road and swerved to the left. The Mercedes crossed the other two southbound lanes; mounted and crossed an 11.5-foot-wide, 6-inch-high raised concrete curb median; and entered the northbound lanes, where it collided head on with a 1986 Ford Taurus traveling in the left northbound lane. The Mercedes rolled up and over the Ford and landed on its roof. The Mercedes slid approximately 80 feet across the northbound lanes and struck a wooden utility pole next to the east side of the roadway, where it came to rest straddling the right northbound lane and the grassy area to the east of the roadway. Following the collision, the Ford remained upright, rotated about 163 degrees counterclockwise, and slid about 50 feet, where it came to rest in the right northbound lane. The Ford was occupied by a 33-year-old driver and four passengers ranging in age from 18 to 31. The drivers of both vehicles and three of the four Ford Taurus passengers died at the scene. The fourth Ford passenger died several hours later in a hospital.