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Entertainer Ben Vereen’s Daughter Killed In Traffic Accident

December 3, 1987 GMT

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) _ The 16-year-old daughter of entertainer Ben Vereen was killed when a mini- van driven by her mother was crushed by a tractor-trailer that toppled on a highway ramp, police said.

Rescue workers took 3 1/2 hours Wednesday to remove the body of Naja Vereen of Saddle River from the flattened remains of the van, according to state police.

The accident occurred at 7:10 a.m. as the tractor-trailer was on a ramp leading from northbound Routes 1 and 9 to westbound Interstate 78, Sgt. John McGourty said.

The rig tipped over and landed on the passenger side of the van, which was traveling the same direction in an adjacent lane, he said.

McGourty said the girl was pronounced dead at the scene from multiple injuries.

Her mother, Nancy Vereen, 43, was uninjured but was taken to Elizabeth General Hospital for observation because she was emotionally shaken, according to hospital spokesman Doug Harris.

″Basically, it was an act of God that she wasn’t injured,″ said state police spokeswoman Fran Wise.

McGourty said giant paper rolls inside the tractor trailer shifted, causing it to topple from the right lane onto the van, which was in the left lane.

The truck driver, Ivan Corro of Jersey City was treated for cuts and bruises at University Hospital in Newark, said police, who filed no charges.

Efforts to reach Vereen’s manager in Los Angeles were not successful. A spokeswoman at the Los Angeles office said a representative was flying to New Jersey Wednesday night.

Alan Richens, a teacher at the Saddle River Country Day School, where Miss Vereen was a junior, said she had been visiting her father, a singer, dancer and film star who was working in California. She was returning from the airport when the accident occurred, he said.