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Victims of I-287 crash were father, son, co-worker

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MAHWAH TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP) — Three people who died in a fiery crash along Interstate 287 were identified Wednesday as a father and son and a co-worker they were trying to help repair a broken-down truck.

State police said Wednesday that 42-year-old Santiago F. Mercado and his son, 22-year-old Santiago M. Mercado, both of Nyack, New York, and 58-year-old Harry Bulatowicz, of Ellenville, New York, were pronounced dead at the scene of the Tuesday afternoon accident, which happened near the New York border in Mahwah.

All three men worked for the Concrete on Demand company, of Oakland, police said.

The Mercados had driven a pickup to the scene to help Bulatowicz repair his cement truck, which was disabled along the right shoulder of I-287. Police said the three men were outside and standing by the left side of the cement truck when they were fatally struck by a tractor-trailer driven by Adelbert McKee, of Ellenville.

Police described the chain of events during the accident, saying the driver of a Toyota had slowed down and moved to the left side of the right-hand lane after spotting the men working on the side of the road.

The tractor-trailer, registered to JNT Transportation, of Friendsville, Pennsylvania, struck the right rear of the Toyota, the left side of the cement truck and the three men standing outside it, state police said. The tractor-trailer maintained contact with the Toyota and stopped on the right shoulder, where both vehicles caught on fire.

Police said tractor-trailer driver and a husband and wife in the Toyota escaped before the vehicles became engulfed. All three were treated for minor injuries.

Police said no charges had been filed but their investigation was continuing.

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