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UPDATE: School Van Driver Killed In Multi-Vehicle Crash In Salem County Identified

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UPPER PITTSGROVE, N.J. (CBS) — Authorities say the driver of a school van was killed in a multi-vehicle crash in New Jersey early Friday morning.

The crash happened at about 7:30 a.m. at Route 40 and Newkirk Station Road in Upper Pittsgrove, Salem County.

According to New Jersey State Police, a school van, a tractor-trailer and several other vehicles collided.

Authorities say the female driver of the school van, 58-year-old Debbie Stang-Thomas, was pronounced dead at the scene. She’d been a driver for the company for 12 years.

Investigators say there was one child on the van at the time of the accident, but that student was not injured. The student was taken to a local hospital for observation.

While there’s no official word on the cause of the crash, people in the area say the dense fog in the area may have played a role.

“Very, very foggy,” one man said.

“The fog was really thick,” said Russell Stanton. “I mean, you couldn’t see 25 feet in front of you.”

A statement from the driver’s bus company reads:

“This is every school bus contractor’s worst nightmare.  We are deeply saddened at the loss of one of our best bus drivers and our hearts go out to her entire family.  She was with our company for just shy of 12 years and had no blemishes on her driving record.  She was an excellent school bus driver who cared deeply not only for all of the special education students she transported but everyone she came in contact with.  We will truly miss her. We are glad to no harm came to the child she was transporting at the time of this terrible accident and our hearts go out to his family as well.”

Route 40 remains closed while police investigate the accident.

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