A grisly morning-rush four-car crash in Toms River that included a pickup truck belonging to Ocean County and landed five people in hospitals is the focus of a township police investigation.

Toms River Police Chief Mike Mastronardy says that it was about 9 AM when a northbound vehicle on New Hampshire Avenue drifted to the southbound side at North Maple Avenue, just south of Lakewood, smashing into three other vehicles. The busy alternate for drivers trying to avoid congestion on Route 9 on any given morning - was closed for an hour betwen North Maple and Locust Street.

Police have issued no identities but say that two people were rushed to Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune - the designated trauma center for Ocean and Monmouth Counties - and three more were treated at several other nearby hospitals.

Police say one victim was pinned inside a vehicle and needed extrication by Pleasant Plains, Silverton and Toms River firefighters. They were aided by Toms River Police and EMS workers from Silverton and Lakewood.