Officials say the two people killed in an accident involving a car and a tractor trailer on the Delaware Memorial Bridge Tuesday afternoon were a woman from Salem County and a man from Cumberland County.

A spokesperson with the Delaware River and Bay Authority says at about 3PM Tuesday, 37-year-old Mary Sanderlin of Salem was driving a Kia Optima when it broke down in the middle right lane of the Delaware-bound span of the Delaware Memorial Bridge. A white tractor trailer being driven by 30-year-old Carlos Hopcroft of Virginia rear-ended the disabled car, which pushed it into the right guardrail.

Sanderlin and her back seat passenger, 29-year-old Rudolf Parish of Bridgeton, were pronounced dead at the scene. The families of the victims were notified by the Salem and Bridgeton Police Departments.

A front seat passenger, 28-year-old Jewel Bard of Penns Grove, was taken to Christiana Hospital in Delaware with non-life threatening injuries.

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Three lanes on the bridge were closed from 3 to 7PM with only one lane open, which caused major delays on Route 40, Interstate 295, and the New Jersey Turnpike. A second lane reopened at 7 and then a third at 8:30 PM. The accident scene was cleared by 9:20 Tuesday night.

Southbound traffic at a stand-still on the New Jersey Turnpike approaching the Delaware Memorial Bridge at 5PM on March 23rd following a fatal accident on the bridge - Photo: 511NJ.org

Numerous agencies responded to the crash, including the Salem County Prosecutor’s Office, the Gloucester County Medical Examiner, the DRBA Police Department, along with other police, rescue, and fire departments from both sides of the river.

The accident investigation is continuing and charges are pending.

SOURCE: DRBA press release, 03/24/21

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