A South Jersey man is dead after the car he was driving slammed into a toll plaza and burst into flames along the Atlantic City Expressway Friday.
Joseph Crawford, 39, was driving westbound on the highway around 10:30 a.m. when he lost control of his mother's silver Hyundai Sonata and crashed into the Egg Harbor Toll Plaza in Hamilton Township, state police said.
The impact forced the car to flip onto its side and ignite. Crawford was unable to escape as flames engulfed the car and spread to two toll booths. No toll takers were hurt.
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Bruce Crawford, the victim's father, told NBC10 his son was heading to work at Parx Casino in Bensalem, Pennsylvania. He's a card dealer at the gambling house and has regularly made the 50 mile commute since casino closures in Atlantic City forced him to switch jobs.
"Joe had a good heart and if you wanted somebody to be there for you, he would be there for you," the father said.
Bruce Crawford said state troopers told him they fielded several emergency calls from drivers about a silver sedan driving erratically down the highway. One caller reported, he said, that the car struck a barrier and rolled on a rim for about five miles before the crash.
Troopers said Joseph Crawford took a route that was five miles further from his home than necessary. Bruce Crawford said his son was acting normal when he left home Friday morning.
Traffic was diverted through the EZ-Pass express lanes as police investigated. The Crawford's car has since been towed and the toll plaza fully reopened.
What caused Crawford to lose control of his vehicle remains under investigation.