Two crashes on the Jersey Shore, one of them fatal, slowed the ride for many seeking relief from the heat on Friday.

The southbound Garden State Parkway was all but closed near Exit 63 for Route 72 in Stafford — the exit for Long Beach Island — for a crash involving four vehicles about 12:23 p.m., according to State Police spokesman Trooper Alejandro Goez.

Three people were hospitalized at nearby Southern Ocean Medical Center for minor injuries and one for serious injuries.

Goez did not reveal the identities of anyone involved with the incident and said the investigation continued.

Earlier, Wall Township police said an SUV driven by a 79-year-old man rear-ended a tractor trailer on Route 70, west of the intersection of Route 34/35 at Old Bridge Road. The man, whose identity was not released, was pronounced dead at the scene. The accident closed that stretch of road for more than two hours.

Traffic on Route 34 southbound heading toward Point Pleasant was backed up for several miles as the cleanup and investigation continued.

Wall police asked anyone who witnessed the incident to contact them at 732-449-4500.

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