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Police: Passing I-78 Trucker Rescues Two Before Rig Is Engulfed

Two drivers and two passengers hurt in two-truck crash, fire that produces thick smoke, traffic havoc.

Police: Passing I-78 Trucker Rescues Two Before Rig Is Engulfed

State police have released details of Wednesday's fiery Interstate 78 truck crash in Salisbury Township, with the details that a passing truck driver was a hero— he pulled out a driver and passenger before their rig burst into flames.

The 11 a.m. crash and fire produced a thick cloud of gray smoke, closed part of the interstate for a while, and wreaked traffic havoc for other motorists.

The tractor trailer that caught fire had just rear-ended another tractor trailer on eastbound I-78 on the Summit Lawn hill near mile marker 59.1, police said.

The passing driver got out of his rig and pulled the other driver and passenger from the cab before their rig became fully engulfed, police said.

The rescued driver and passenger, as well as the driver and passenger of the rig that was rear-ended, were injured, but none suffered life-threatening injuries, the fax says.

The passing driver was identified in a Morning Call story as Troy Richards, a driver for the J.B. Hunt trucking company. Richards is from Gloucester County, Va.

Police identified the rescued driver as Albert W. Couch, 45, of Antioch, Tenn. His passenger was Brandon E. Daniels, 27, of Hermitage, Tenn. Both towns are in the Nashville area.

The driver of the truck that was rear-ended was Luis N. Nunez, 42, of Union City, N.J., north of Jersey City. His passenger was Diogenes N. Valdez, 54, of Englewood, N.J.

According to police, Nunez was driving his white Freightliner with a temporary New Jersey registration slowly up the hill in the right lane at about 10 mph. The other rig, a 2007 white Volvo with Mississippi registration, rear-ended the Freightliner. Both rigs came to rest in the right lane.

The fire from the Volvo rig spread to the rear trailer portion of the Freightliner.

Assisting state police were EMS units from Upper Saucon, Allentown and Emmaus. Also assisting were fire crews and equipment from Salisbury, Lower Milford and Fogelsville.

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