A spectacular crash in Egg Harbor Township leaves a car reduced to cinders, deep trail of damage in its wake, and the driver escapes with minor injuries and a careless-driving ticket.

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John Merlino, 18, of Egg Harbor Township, was treated on scene and declined hospital care after this morning's crash and car fire on the Black Horse Pike, police said.

Patrol officers responded at 6:23 AM to the Cardiff section, on the Pike near Fernwiood Avenue.

According to police, Merlino's 1999 Toyota Camry was westbound when he lost control. The car side-swiped a utility pole, rammed a road sign, then hit a second utility pole.

The impact sent the car rebounding clear across and off the eastbound lanes, where it finally stopped, then burst into flames.

Police did not elaborate on general traffic speed or volume, Merlino's speed, road and light conditions, whether a field sobriety test was administered, or whether impaired, aggressive or distracted driving are suspected.

Egg Harbor Township ambulance staffers tended Merlino while Cardiff and Bargaintown firefighters squelched the blaze. EHTPD Officer Scott Nell investigated and compiled the details.

Source: Egg Harbor Township Police Dept.

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