MAPLEWOOD, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – A man has been charged in connection with a two-car crash in Maplewood that killed two people and injured two others.
As CBS 2’s Lou Young reported Wednesday, Harrison Allen, 20, was apparently under the influence of alcohol during the wreck, which happened around 9 p.m. Tuesday at the intersection of South 4th Street and Essex Avenue.
Allen — the son of a Montclair fire chief — was charged with driving while intoxicated, vehicular homicide, and aggravated assault by auto.
“Driving under the influence of alcohol at an excessive speed is not the basis of an accident. It is an act of criminal recklessness,” said Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn Murray.
Allen was allegedly speeding in a brand new silver Chrysler 2000, which struck another car carrying four young Maplewood men in the neighborhood where they all lived. Two of them — Tamir Harry, 16, and Kervin Noel, 21 — were killed.
The other two passengers — Rodney Lovius, 21, and Tashir Harry, 20 — who is Tamir Harry’s brother — both remained hospitalized Wednesday night. They had to be pried out of the wreckage of the crushed Nissan.
One vehicle was traveling north on Essex when it collided with the second vehicle that was heading east on South 4th, authorities said.
The Essex County Prosecutor’s Office chief of detectives said he ran up on the scene Tuesday night to find the two deceased young men were ejected from the car. First responders struggled to rescue the other two young men.
“The ejected people – one was on the left side of the house on the front lawn, and one was on the right side of the lawn. About 60 feet from the car, one was, and maybe about 35 feet from the car, another one was. So they traveled some distance after they were ejected,” said Chief of Detectives Anthony Ambrose. “One of them, it appears, struck a railing – a wrought iron railing of the house – before he came to rest. He ripped the railing right out of the contract.”
On Wednesday night, Tiffany Padmore – a friend of Harry’s — carried her broken heart to the well-kept corner where her friend lost his life. Flowers marked the spot.
“He was almost home,” she said. “He did nothing wrong.”
Neighbors of Allen’s in Livingston said he is a good kid, and they said the crash is a tragedy he will never get over. Others near the scene of the crash said speeding is common in the area, and speed bumps would have helped.
“It was something waiting to happen,” said Cleta Wickham, who added that she believed the crash was caused by more than just an impaired driver.
But Padmore was not so sure.
“It just breaks your heart, and now all we can do is hopefully, we become stronger and fight against drinking and driving, because it hits home,” she said. “It really does hit home.”
The speed at the time of impact exceeded 80 mph, authorities said.
Authorities would not talk about Allen’s alleged alcohol content.
Allen faces up to 35 years in prison if convicted of all charges.
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