UPDATE: Cherry Hill police have identified the victim as a Cherry Hill resident.
A crash that killed a 19-year-old motorcyclist on Kings Highway Tuesday afternoon was a massive fireball in the middle of the five-lane road, eyewitnesses said.
Cherry Hill resident Joe Cohen was driving south on Kings Highway when the crash and explosion happened less than 300 feet from his windshield at around 4:15 p.m. He saw the driver of a green Camaro pull on to the road from Tampa Avenue, then it was all fire and crumpled metal.
“The actual for hit...from my vision was a ball of flame, with the kid coming through,” he said.
The teenage motorcyclist, who authorities have not yet identified, was headed north on Kings Highway when he slammed into the Camaro's A-pillar—the post at the windshield on the driver's side—and was thrown over the hood of the car, despite an attempt to swerve at the last moment, Cohen said.
The force of the crash left the motorcycle a mangled mess of metal, barely recognizable as a bike. The front wheel was twisted back on itself, and the body of the motorcycle was only recognizable as an engine block with charred panels still clinging to it.
The motorcyclist's helmet ended up 60 feet away in the southbound lanes of Kings Highway, while his Timberland boots went flying in two directions, one landing in the grass near the sidewalk in front of the BP gas station on the southbound side, about 70 feet from the crash site, the other about 15 feet farther up the road from the helmet.
Cohen ran out into the middle of the road to try to help in the aftermath, and stayed with the teen as emergency personnel rushed to the scene—police were there in seconds, thanks to an officer who was patrolling the road, and firefighters rushed from just blocks away on Chelton Parkway.
“I was saying to him, 'Come on, stick around,'” Cohen said.
But the teen died at the scene, Cherry Hill police said.
The driver of the Camaro, meanwhile, was able to get out of his mangled car and walk away from the crash, despite his driver's-side door getting crumpled from the impact. He was later treated for minor injuries.
The intersection, situated between two traffic signals, is persistently dangerous, said Adel Barakat, who lives right around the corner.
“There's an accident here every week,” he said.
Police remained on scene for several hours following the crash, which was still under investigation.
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