Police have identified three members of a Stone Mountain, Georgia family who died Thursday when their car was crushed by a tractor-trailer on the New Jersey Turnpike in Mount Laurel, Burlington County.
Investigators say Ainsworth Mallett, 51, Jacqueline Mallett, 49, and their son Drew, 12, were killed in the collision. The Mallett's 18-year-old daughter, Nicole, survived the wreck and was transported to Cooper University Hospital with non life-threatening injuries. Police say the family's dog also died in the accident.
The four-vehicle crash, which closed the southbound lane at milepost 39.9 -- below Exit 5 -- for more than five hours, happened shortly after 10 a.m. when a big rig hit the family's silver Toyota Camry from behind and bumped a Ford Edge, police said.
As the tractor-trailer jackknifed, the Camry was crushed and it appears it pushed into another tractor-trailer.
Troopers shut down the center and right lanes for several hours. All lanes were reopened around 2:30 p.m.
Ryan Paul, who lives about 100 yards from the crash site, heard a tire pop.
"All of a sudden you see out of nowhere there’s like 20 state troopers like five fire trucks, and you’re like 'was it that bad an accident?' And then you hear there’s three people dead and you’re like it’s that bad an accident," Paul told NBC10.
The cause of the accident is under investigation.