WOODBRIDGE TOWNSHIP, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – Three young women’s lives were cut short in a deadly crash late Friday night in Woodbridge Township, New Jersey.

Police said around 11:50 p.m. the Nissan Altima they were in rear-ended a tractor-trailer that was stopped at the intersection of Route 1 and Fords Avenue.

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The 23-year-old driver, identified as Brianna Martinez, was rushed to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Her passengers, 23-year-old Michaela Powell and 24-year-old Uchechukw Chukwuma, died on the scene.

Friends say the women were celebrating a birthday and the party began at Somerset’s Stage House Tavern before moving on to at least one spot in New Brunswick — then the car driven by Martinez struck the truck at a stoplight.

Police said the tractor-trailer driver stayed on the scene and was cooperating with investigators. They added that the car was traveling at a high rate of speed.

(From left to right) Uchechukw Chukwuma, Michaela Powell, and Brianna Martinez. (Credit: CBSN New York)

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CBS2’s Dave Carlin was told by Martinez’s sister that Brianna was close to completing college and looking forward to working as a teacher for special needs children.

Sayuri Alvarez who knew her since they were kids told CBS2 about her intelligence and outgoing personality.

“Bright smile it’s saddens me that she lost her life like that that… So we’re really in shock that it was her.”

Powell is being remembered for social activism dating back to her high school days.

“Michaela… she marched with us in Washington DC against war,” friend Robert Witanek said.

Chukwuma graduated Syracuse University last year and was pursuing a career in entertainment law.

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Anyone with information about the crash is asked to contact Sgt. Philip Augusta at 732-634-7700, mwarren@njadvancemedia.com, or @MSolDub on Twitter.