Police Have Determined Alcohol, Drugs Were Not A Factor In Fatal Accident

EAST BRUNSWICK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – A New Jersey community is dealing with the loss of two young people in a car accident.

As CBS 2’s Christine Sloan reported, friends of the two teenagers continued to visit to the spot where the couple lost their lives in a crash over the weekend.

“So, so sad because we grew up in a small school and it’s the saddest thing ever,” Cristina Joule told Sloan.

Seventeen-year-old Jeff Zatkowski and his girlfriend, 18-year-old Nicole Surace, died Saturday night after he lost control of his car in East Brunswick.

Police said he crashed into a utility pole, splitting the pole in half. The car then flipped over several times before landing in a wooded area just around the corner from Surace’s house.

Two crosses have been erected at the spot where the car came to a rest, and mourners have placed candles and mementos at the scene, Sloan reported.

Zatkowski was a football star at Spotswood High School. Surace was a freshman in college and a cheerleader. Friends said she always had a smile on her face.

“If you were sad, she would come to you and she would comfort you with that smile that she always had,” Briana Farrell said. “She was very positive. She was just a beautiful person.”

Police were working to determine if speed was a factor in the crash.

“We have no indications at this time of any presence of alcohol or drugs at all,” East Brunswick Police Chief William Krause said.

A note left on a tree by a friend describes the grief. It reads:

“I don’t understand why this happened. Jeff will take care of you. I know you will be eternally happy. From one sister to another, I love you to heaven and back.”

Police continue to investigate the crash which they said appears to just be a tragic accident.

“It makes you cherish the moments that you have with your best friends and to never take anything for granted anymore,” Farrell told Sloan.

Counselors were on hand at Spotswood High School throughout the day Monday to help students cope with the loss.

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