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Ambulance Hits Medevac Chopper at Deadly N.J. Crash Scene

ELK TOWNSHIP, N.J. -- An ambulance rammed a helicopter while responding to a South Jersey car accident that killed four people Thursday night, police said.

The helicopter was damaged but still was able to fly after the incident, police said, although none of the four victims was flown to area hospitals.

The crash occurred about 8 p.m. when a Honda Accord carrying four adults and an infant girl veered off the southbound lane of Route 55 in Elk Township, Gloucester County, and struck a street-sweeper vehicle, police said.

The driver and three passengers in the Honda were killed but the 2-month-old girl, who was properly secured, was uninjured, police said.

A medevac helicopter was dispatched to the scene from Cooper University Hospital in Camden and landed near the accident, said New Jersey State Police Sgt. Julian Castellanos.

Meanwhile, an ambulance from nearby Franklin Township, Gloucester County, was approaching the accident scene.

Castellanos said the roof of the ambulance struck the rear rotor of the helicopter, which was still running.

"The pilot inspected the rotor, flew back to the hangar and fixed a few blades on the rotor," he said.

State police said they were treating the incident as an accident and that no charges have been filed.

Killed in the Honda were the driver, Jon Nordberg, 18, of Pilesgrove, Salem County; Rhonda Giorno, 17, of Clayton, Gloucester County; Matthew Funk, 19, of Pilesgrove; and Shaheem Hamilton, 23, of Philadelphia.

Nordberg, Hamilton and Giorno were pronounced dead at Underwood-Memorial Hospital in Woodbury at 11 p.m, Castellanos said.

Funk was pronounced dead at Kennedy Memorial Hospital in Washington Township.

Castellanos said the infant, who had the same last name as Nordberg, was examined at Kennedy.

The crash came about 10 hours after an accident on Interstate 295 in Cherry Hill that claimed three lives after a northbound tractor-trailer crossed the median into the southbound lanes and smashed into a Volkswagen and a box truck.

The driver of the Volkswagen, Lawrence Wright, 66, of Keller, Texas, was killed, as were the driver and passenger of the box truck, Renee Lesenko, 44, of Philadelphia; and Juma Rajab, 42, also of Philadelphia.

The driver of the tractor-trailer, Sheraz Khan, 40, of West Babylon, N.Y., suffered minor injuries. The accident remains under investigation and no charges have been filed.

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