FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Authorities in New Jersey have identified the victims of a multi-vehicle crash that killed three people and critically injured another in Freehold Township on Tuesday.
Nicholas Dever, 19, was behind the wheel of a Volkswagen Jetta traveling south on Kozloski Road that crossed into the northbound lane, hitting a Honda Pilot head-on, according to prosecutors. Dever’s girlfriend, Noelle DeLuccio, 20, was in the passenger seat when it hit the Pilot, which was driven by 50-year-old Thomas Koller, prosecutors said. All three were killed.
The Honda became airborne and landed on top of a Toyota Camry.
A fourth victim, the 25-year-old driver of the Toyota, remains in extremely critical condition with a head injury, according to Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni.
Everyone involved in the crash at Route 33 and Kozloski Road was wearing seatbelts, and airbags deployed, prosecutors said.
“The one car was half gone,” said witness Kristi Munis, who saw the impact from her home. “There was nothing left to it except from the windshield back.”
Investigators believe Dever lost control of his car when it crossed into oncoming traffic.
Prosecutors say there is no evidence of speeding, but they are investigating other factors.
“We are always looking at cellphone usage as one of the contributing factors,” said Marc LeMieux, first assistant prosecutor. “And we are in this case also.”
As CBS 2’s Christine Sloan reported, Dever and DeLuccio made headlines in 2013 when their little girl was the first baby born in the new year in Monmouth County.
Now friends are heartbroken for their daughter.
“It is really difficult because I’m a parent,” said Francesca Delgado, a friend of the couple’s.
Delgado manages the McDonald’s where Dever and DeLuccio met.
Young and in love, they made an impression on everyone, Delgado said.
“They were young kids, but they were really good people,” she said. “They were really nice. They were really helpful. They were really, really good people.”
Residents who live near the crash site said the area is notoriously dangerous.
“It’s a pretty fast road and it’s pretty much open, and there are no barriers so everyone pretty much goes pretty fast on this road,” said resident Joanne Rodriguez.
Jayuti Kumer, who owns a deli near the accident scene, said the portion of the four-lane road, which doesn’t have a median, has been the site of multiple accidents.
“They have to do something about it,” she said.
In 2007, three teenagers and a man in another car were killed on Kozloski Road.
Anyone who may have witnessed the crash is asked to call Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office Detective Eric Kerecman at 732-522-8885 or Freehold Police Officer Joseph Winowski at 732-462-7908.
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