At 8 p.m. on October 19, 1973, a tractor-semitrailer was traveling south in the right lane of the southbound portion of the New Jersey Turnpike at about 55 mph. A Greyhound bus was traveling north in the right lane of the northbound portion of the Turnpike. A private auto was traveling in the center lane of the northbound portion and was passing the bus.
The left front tire of the truck blew out; the tractor veered to the left and crashed through the median guardrail into the northbound lanes. The truck struck the automobile and crushed it between the truck and the bus; the automobile split in half, and the rear half caught fire. The truck ran off the northbound lanes, through a guardrail, down a 50-foot embankment, and turned onto its right side. The truckdriver was ejected; he was not wearing an available seatbelt.
The automobile driver, the automobile passenger, the busdriver, and six bus passengers died in the crash. The truckdriver and 10 bus passengers were injured. Property damage amounted to $100,000.
Contributing to the fatalities and injuries was the inadequacy of the median guardrail to prevent the tractor-semitrailer from entering into the opposing lanes of traffic.