BLOOMFIELD - The wife of the truck driver killed when he swerved to avoid mattresses on the New Jersey Turnpike in Kearny, is calling her husband a hero.
Dalip Kumar was hauling 8,500 gallons of gasoline for JSK Transport Wednesday afternoon when he tried to swerve out of the way of traffic that had slowed down due to mattresses and boxsprings that had spilled all over the road.
Kumar lost control of the tanker-truck and it flipped over the guardrail before catching on fire. The northbound lanes on the western spur of the Turnpike by Exit 15W were closed for nearly 13 hours after the accident. Kumar died at the scene.
Vivian Valdez, Kumar's wife of five years, says that she worried about him driving trucks because she felt it was dangerous. Kumar had only been driving trucks for nine months.
Many, including Valdez, say Kumar was a hero. He was able to bring the tanker-truck over to the shoulder and over the guardrail, out of the way of other motorists.
"I did feel relieved [when they told me that] because that's what he's always been," Valdez says. "Always caring and loving toward everyone and always putting everyone else before him."
Two years ago, Valdez was working at a gas station in Bloomfield when it was robbed. The robbers fired several shots at Kumar, but he was not injured. News 12 New Jersey interviewed Kumar at the time, and he said that he was able to get out of the way and alerted police about the robbery.
New Jersey State Police say that the driver of the van that dropped the mattresses will not be facing charges at this time, but the accident remains under investigation.
Valdez does not agree with that decision, she says.
"Someone should pay. Why you would drive so fast with mattresses on top so they get loose?" she asks.
The driver of the van is identified as Adam Abuhamoud, of Linden.