A man driving a black compact car was killed after colliding with a tree this morning in the 400 block of Walnut Avenue, about a block away from Walnut Avenue School. According to Cranford Police Lt. James Wozniak, the fatal accident occurred just before 9a.m.
A large branch from the tree fell on top of the vehicle, but was removed by local landscapers who stopped to assist, according to one neighbor. The exact cause of death and the accident victim's identity has not yet been released by police.
Joe Diprofio, a local landscaper who was not involved with the attempted rescue, but was working near the crash site said he was driving on the road earlier in the morning, and described the scene: "I saw a black car that was smashed in on the driver's side." Diprofio was shocked to hear a man died in the crash.
A neighbor, whose home is directly in front of the crash site came out to help the victim whom she described as an elderly man. "He was not responsive, but he had his eyes open," said Stephanie Cabezas, 22. She said she heard a loud thump around 8:45a.m. and that soon after, men were cutting branches from on top of the vehicle. The crash occured just a few feet from her door.
Cabezas, who was a volunteer EMT in Montclair, said she rushed out to help. "It was a pretty bad accident," she said. "He had a big cut in the back of his head and the front of his head too," said Cabezas. She ran in the house to grab towels to try to stop the bleeding, but by the time she came back local paramedics had stabilized him.
Cranford's Traffic Division and members of the Union County Police Department shut down access to Walnut Avenue from Lenhome Dr. to Chester Lang Place for much of the morning to investigate the crash. The roads were reopened around 11:30a.m. The cause of the crash is still under investigation.
Patch will update the story as more information becomes available.