Home News Tribune Online 07/26/07MARY ANN BOURBEAU
A 17-year-old Florida boy was killed and a 21-year-old Edison man critically injured early today after the Dodge Viper they were traveling in collided with a tractor-trailer on the New Jersey Turnpike, said State Police Sgt. Stephen Jones.
At 3:53 a.m., Mark J. Leo of Edison and Thomas Demetro of Orlando, Fla., were headed southbound in the truck lanes in a 2004 Dodge Viper. While near Interchange 14, the vehicle crossed from the left lane into the center right lane and struck a tractor-trailer, driven by Taif Allah, 33, of Elizabeth.
The Viper careened out of control and crashed into the center median, where it was struck by the same tractor-trailer it had hit, Jones said. Though neither were wearing seat belts and both were ejected from the car, State Police believe Leo was the driver. The tractor-trailer ended up on the center guardrail.
Demetro was pronounced dead at the scene by a medical examiner at 4:05 a.m. Leo was taken to University Hospital in Newark in critical condition, Jones said. Allah sustained minor injuries.
New Jersey Turnpike Authority spokesman Joe Orlando said the sports car was traveling well over 100 mph when it hit the tractor-trailer. Blood samples from Leo and Demetro were taken at the hospital to determine if alcohol was a factor in the
crash, but the results were not immediately available.
The southbound lanes from Interchange 14 to Interchange 13A were closed until 10 a.m. Morning rush hour traffic was diverted onto the inner roadway, where drivers experienced significant backups, Jones said.