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2 Dead In Possible N.J. Drag Race Crash

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Howell Township

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HOWELL TOWNSHIP, N.J. (CBS 2) — Two people are dead Saturday night after a car somehow went airborne and landed on a tree in New Jersey.

As police unravel the tragic chain of events, they’re considering the possibility that this was the result of a drag race.

It started as a night out with friends. For Simone Kearney, it was the last night of her life.

She was a passenger in a silver Honda Accord, which was moving southbound on Route 9 in Howeell Township, when it careened into a utility pole and went airborne.

The car tore off the front railing and corner of a house, and stopped – suspended, in between two big trees.

The impact killed Kearney instantly, according to police.

Also dead is Terence Butler, 27, a father of three whose family came to the scene to leave photos and roses.

“My daughter was 21 years of age, just beginning to live her life,” said Barry Kearney, Simone’s father. “Now she’s gone.”

Police called it a possible drag race because three cars were involved, all seen traveling at high rates of speed moments before the crash, which happened just after 1:30 a.m.

The drivers of the other cars stopped and police arrested them on suspicion of driving while intoxicated.

Two other young people are hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries.

Witness Jackie Davis Hecht owns the home that is now scarred and boarded up.

“The house is shaking, and that’s when we knew it was hit,” she said. “We could feel it rumbling.”

Simone was a certified home health aide, who was heading back to school to become a registered nurse.

“The Butler boy, had he not been driving and speeding, my daughter would still be alive,” her father said. “These kids need to realize all the partying, all the drinking, all the things that took place on Highway 9 in Howell Township could have been avoided.”

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