23-year-old Montville man killed stepping into truck’s path on Route 287
Submitted by commercial truck crash attorney, Jeffrey Hark
A 23-year-old township man died after stepping onto Route 287 and being struck by a Freightliner truck Sunday night, State Police said.
Marquis P. Akins was pronounced dead at the scene Sgt. First Class Gregory Williams said.
Police got a call about the collision on Route 287 South in the Montville area at 9:11 p.m., he said. The truck, hauling a 53-foot refrigerator trailer, had been traveling in the right lane when Akins stepped in front of it, Williams said. The driver was unable to stop in time, he said.
Akins did not have a vehicle along the shoulder of the road, Williams said. The incident is being investigated as a possible suicide, he said. The truck has been impounded for the investigation, but no charges have been filed against the driver.
As reported by NJ Advance Media last month, in the eight months prior, at least four people died on New Jersey roads after they ran into the paths of tractor-trailers. Barring evidence like a suicide note, investigators say, it’s often hard to say definitively whether a crash involving a pedestrian was a suicide.
Experts also told NJ Advance Media it’s rare to commit suicide by running in front of a truck. But 2014 was the deadliest year for pedestrians in New Jersey in more than a decade. After a three-decade decline in fatal crashes overall, fatal pedestrian crashes spiked at 170 last year, about a 29-percent increase over 2013, according to State Police crash statistics.
“While not common, it’s also not unheard of,” that someone steps in front of a tractor-trailer to commit suicide, said Rob Abbott, vice president of safety policy for the American Trucking Association.