ROCKAWAY TOWNSHIP — A Mountain Lakes man was arrested Saturday morning for allegedly causing a chain reaction crash on Route 80 that killed a man, a woman and a baby, State Police said.
Bhavuk Uppal, 22, of Mountain Lakes, was charged with three counts of death by auto, two counts of assault by auto, causing death or injury while driving while suspended, possession of drug paraphernalia and DWI, State Police spokesperson Sgt. Jeff Flynn said.
State Police initially said one person was killed in the crash, but by Saturday afternoon that number had been revised to three. The man, woman and baby have not yet been identified, Flynn said.
Based on the preliminary investigation, K Santiago-Madera, 26, of Bronx, N.Y., was stopped in traffic in a 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee in the left-center lane of westbound Interstate 80 at milepost 34.7 at about 1:37 a.m. with a 2004 Kia sedan behind it, Flynn said.
Uppal was driving a 2014 Cadillac Escalade in the left-center lane when his vehicle struck the Kia which then struck the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Flynn said. The Cadillac then ran off of the right side of the roadway and overturned in a grass embankment, he said.
The Kia became fully engulfed in flames after the crash, Flynn said. The three occupants of the vehicle were pronounced dead at the scene at 4 a.m.
The occupants of the Jeep — Santiago-Madera and his passenger, Brandon Green, 32, of Bronx, N.Y. — were both taken to Morristown Memorial Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
Uppal was lodged in the Morris County Correctional Facility in lieu of $300,000 bail with no 10-percent option.
The westbound side of Route 80 was closed for several hours Saturday morning while the crash was investigated.
Originally published here by nj.com.