2007_12_abtcr.jpgIcy conditions on Sunday caused a number of accidents, most notably a 15-car pile-up on Route 3/Meadowland Parkway in New Jersey. A dump truck had jumped a divider, and then cars, unable to avoid it, piled up behind it. There were over 28 injuries and two people died.

It was announced that one of the victims was Jennifer Alexander (pictured), a veteran of the American Ballet Theater. Her husband Julio Bragado-Young, another ABT dancer, was driving. Other passengers were Nicole Graniero of the ABT and Lindsay Poulis of the Martha Graham School. The four had danced in a Williamsport, PA performance of The Nutcracker and were headed back to Manhattan.

When their car crashed into another in the pile-up, they all got out of the car. The difficult conditions, though, led to one car nearly hitting Graniero and Poulis (they managed to get out of the way) while another car hit Alexander and Bragado-Young. Alexander died at the scene and Bragado-Young was critically injured. Graniero spoke to the Post and said, "All four of us got out of the car. We hugged each other, saying thank God we were OK."

The other fatality was Vinay Patel, of North Bergen, NJ. He was not injured in the crash, but he was fatally struck by a car after he exited his car and called 911. Investigators are still looking into the accident; Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli said, "There's still a lot of confusion yet about how this all happened. Very early on, it looked like it started with a sideswipe of a vehicle, but we've had so many conflicting stories, we're still sorting it out."