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Update: Man killed in Route 80 crash had stopped to adjust bicycles

ROCKAWAY — A fatal fiery two-car crash closed down Route 80 west in Rockaway Township early Tuesday afternoon and a former police officer and Emergency Medical Technician was credited with rescuing the driver and passenger of one of the cars before it burst into flames.

Car fire on Route 80 West

Michael O’Brien, 49, an accountant  from Jersey City, was adjusting his bicycle on his vehicle on the shoulder of Route 80 west near mile marker 33.6 when a vehicle driven by Barbara Potts, 72, of Newark, entered the shoulder, fatally striking O’Brien, State Police spokesman

O’Brien’s girlfriend Maya Vartiainen, a passenger in the truck, but at the time of the accident was standing outside the vehicle while O’Brien was adjusting the bicycle.

State Police said the second vehicle, a 2009 Buick Enclave, was being operated by Potts. There were two other passengers in her vehicle, a male in the front seat, and Mary Briggs in the back seat. Potts and a front-seat passenger had minor injuries and Briggs suffered serious injuries and was transported to Morristown Medical Center. A dog also was in the vehicle at the time of the crash.

State Police said he crash is still under investigation and no charges have been filed at this time.

The black smoke from the burning vehicles could be seen for miles

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Frank L. Cahill
Frank L. Cahill
Publisher of Parsippany Focus since 1989 and Morris Focus since 2019, both covering a wide range of events. Mr. Cahill serves as the Executive Board Member of the Parsippany Area Chamber of Commerce, President of Kiwanis Club of Tri-Town and Chairman of Parsippany-Troy Hills Economic Development Advisory Board.
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