Man Killed in Mount Airy Road Accident in Bernards

Longtime employee of Bernardsville construction company killed after tree fell on truck.

A longtime employee for a Bernardsville construction company was killed Thursday afternoon when his utility truck was crushed by a tree that fell on his vehicle on Mount Airy Road in Bernards Township, police said.

The employee of HW Alward Construction was killed in the accident that closed the roadway for nearly four hours, Bernards Township Police Chief Brian Bobowicz said. The victim's identity was not immediately released.

The road was closed from shortly after 3 p.m. to about 6:45 p.m., Bobowicz said.

The chief said township police responded at 3:06 p.m. to a report of a one-vehicle accident on Mount Airy Road in the area of the Somerset Hills YMCA and Holy Cross Cemetery involving a fallen tree. Upon arrival, the male driver was deceased, Bobowicz said.

A very large tree top had snapped from the base trunk landing directly on the roof of the Ford utility truck, Bobowicz said. The truck is owned by HW Alward Inc. Construction Co., based on Mount Airy Road in Bernardsville, he said.

Basking Ridge Fire Co. spokesman and ex-chief Jack McGrath said the fire company and EMS units responded at 3:13 p.m. to the accident, opposite 140 Mount Airy Road, to find that a utility work truck had been struck by a falling tree which was laying across the roadway. The roof of the vehicle was crushed  bending the doors and pinning the driver inside the truck, McGrath said.

The truck was being operated by a 30-plus-year employee of Alward Construction, Bobowicz said. Morristown Medical Center's Mobile Intensive Care Unit arrived and pronounced the victim dead, he said.

Basking Ridge Fire Capt. Ted Renz established command and immediately requested back up from the Liberty Corner Fire Company, and from the Lyons VA Hospital Fire Department. McGrath said that after the man inside was pronounced deceased, the rescue works had to await the arrival of the county’s Fatality Unit and the medical examiner before extrication could begin.

Freeing the driver was made more difficult by a crushed roof and bent doors, McGrath said.

McGrath said he was safety officer during the removal process while Liberty Corner Chief Marc Friedman was the Operations Officer, with First Assistant Chief Pete Aprahamian of Liberty Corner Fire directing the work.

The fire companies extricated the victim at the direction of the NJ Regional Medical Examiner's Office from Newark, Bobowicz said. Rescue volunteers left the scene at about 6:10 a.m., police said.

The Somerset County Prosecutors Office CAR Team responded to assist with the diagramming of the accident scene, Bobowicz said. The Somerset County road department cleared the roadway.

Bob Maguire February 01, 2013 at 01:04 AM
You would think that after Irene, October snowstorm and Sandy homeowners and officials would wake up and realize there is a problem. The family of this poor man should hire an attorney ASAP.
Bob Maguire February 01, 2013 at 01:16 AM
I was just driving on that road a week ago and thought to myself this doesn't seem safe - trees were leaning on trees looking like they were ready to fall. Instead of officials requiring permits to cut down trees, maybe they should be more concerned about people's safety. Enough said.
Aleksandra February 01, 2013 at 03:52 PM
Thank you for bringing to our attention the fact that the deceased men was a construction worker although this unnecesery information is only misleading us readers in thinking that the accident had something to do with a construction work. The fact is that the deceased men ( my prayers are with him and his family) was just a man driveing his car on the road. It could be me. It could be you. I was just there right after it happened. I was on Mount Airy Rd driving my child to a ply date right after school. I can not help but think this must have been one of the trees enjured in the last hurricane, and there are probably more trees like this in our nighberhood and the tragedies like this are just waiting to happen. Can we do something to prevent this?
Amanda McKay February 03, 2013 at 06:43 AM
Thank you guys for pointing that out. I thought about the fact that the trees should have been better kept, but I thought that was just me trying to blame something or someone. Something should be done to prevent this from happening to anyone else. He was my father and an amazing man and did not deserve this. God has a plan for everyone, so maybe this is just a work of God but I would hate to see any other innocent person be harmed by something that could possibly be prevented.
Makenna February 03, 2013 at 03:01 PM
Although this is a very unfortunate incident nobody knew that the tree would bend and snap a kill someone like this man. Maybe the town should handle these trees that are falling down but we can not get mad at the town now we simply have to move on and now hopefully the town will take care of it but previous to this tradgity nobody knew anything so awful could happen. So people stop blaming the town for this because non of us knew this would happen and don't act like you knew this would happen because nobody did.


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