Mahwah Township, N.J. - On Tuesday, June 24, 2014, at 12:38 p.m., troopers from Totowa Station responded to a report of a multiple motor vehicle crash on Interstate 287 northbound at milepost 66.4.
Harry Bulatowicz, 58, of Ellenville, N.Y., was the driver of a 1999 disabled cement truck operated by Concrete on Demand of Oakland, N.J., which was parked on the right shoulder of the roadway. Two additional employees, Santiago F. Mercado, 42, and Santiago M. Mercado, 22, (father and son) both of Nyack, N.Y., arrived on scene in a 1990 Isuzu pickup truck to assist in repairing the cement truck. The pickup truck was parked in front of the cement truck. The Mercados and Bulatowicz were standing along the left side of the cement truck as they attempted to fix the vehicle.
Rosemary DiBattista, 58, of Fanwood, N.J., approached the scene in her 2000 Toyota Avalon, saw the men, slowed, and moved to the left side of the right lane. A 2012 Freightliner tractor-trailer (JNT Transportation, Friendsville P.A.) was also traveling northbound on I-287. The driver, Adelbert McKee, 58, of Ellenville, N.Y, struck the right rear of the Toyota, the left side of the cement truck, and the three pedestrians. The Frieghtliner maintained contact with the Toyota and stopped on the right shoulder where both vehicles caught on fire. Mrs. DiBattista, her passenger (husband), Anthony DiBattista, 59, and McKee were able to escape before both vehicles became engulfed.
Santiago M. Mercado, Santiago F. Mercado, and Harry Bulatowicz were pronounced deceased at the scene. The DiBattistas and McKee sustained minor injuries as a result of this crash. Interstate northbound remained closed until approximately 10:30 pm. No charges have been filed at this time. This accident remains under investigation.