A township man was struck by a car and killed Thursday night as he attempted to push his disabled vehicle off Route 70, police said.
William J. Cassano, 40, died after being struck as he was attempting to push his disabled 1988 Toyota 4Runner SUV to the shoulder of the state highway at approximately 8:43 p.m.
The vehicle had become disabled in the center travel lane of Route 70 eastbound approximately 150 feet west of the Burnt Tavern Road Extension, according to Brick Police Sgt. David Bedrosian.
During the course of pushing his vehicle, a passerby pulled onto the shoulder of Route 70 to offer assistance to Cassano at about the same time a 1990 Buick driven by William Cox, 23, of Freehold, hit the disabled 4Runner from behind.
The force of the crash launched Cassano approximately 30 feet toward the center median, Bedrosian said in a statement, but the passerby told police he got up and indicated he was OK. Shortly thereafter, however, Cassano was struck by a second vehicle, a 2009 Toyota Yaris being driven by Courtney J. Bannigan, 23, of Brick.
Bannigan, who was traveling eastbound, struck the Buick after hitting Cassano. The Buick had initially come to rest in the left travel lane of Route 70 eastbound at the intersection with Burnt Tavern Road, but after the second crash, ended up in the middle of the intersection. The Toyota came to a stop in the center median after striking a sign.
Cassano became pinned between the two vehicles, said Bedrosian. He sustained multiple injuries as a result of the crash, and succumbed to those injuries at the scene.
Neither of the other two drivers, nor the pedestrian who had initially stopped to help, were injured.
Brick Police Sgt. Covert and Ptl. Boronkas were the first arriving officers on the scene, followed by multiple police and paramedic units. Brick Police EMS, Brick Volunteer EMS and MONOC paramedics responded to the call as well as the Laurelton fire company. Members of the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office and Ocean County Sheriff's Department also investigated.
The accident left Route 70 closed in both directions between Burnt Tavern Road and Herbertsville Road for about three hours, Bedrosian said.
The investigation into the crash, being conducted by Bedrosian, Ptl. Jay Lampiasi and Ptl. Scott Dierking is ongoing. Anyone who may have witnessed the crash is being asked to contact the Brick Police Traffic Safety Unit at 732-262-1140.