2 teens die in crash on Route 9 in Freehold Township, NJ
FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP — Two teenage passengers died in a crash on Route 9 late Tuesday night when the 17-year-old driver lost control.
Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Lori Linskey said the driver from Howell was changing lanes on the southbound side and spun out around 10:40 p.m. His 2004 Chevrolet Malibu went off the road, hit the curb and several concrete-filled posts before rolling over in front of the AAA car care center.
Two passengers, a 15-year-old male from Allentown and a 17-year-old from Manalapan, were pronounced dead at the scene. A 15-year-old female passenger from Manalapan was treated for minor injuries while a 17-year-old from Allentown was still hospitalized early Wednesday afternoon.
Linskey did not disclose the identities of any of the teens involved in the crash.
Condolences for the victims
One of the students attended a school in the Freehold Regional High School District, according to district spokeswoman Rebecca Policastro.
"We are deeply saddened to learn of the tragic passing of one of our students. Our thoughts and sympathies are with their family and friends during this difficult time," Policastro told New Jersey 101.5. "When things like this happen, students may need extra support in handling their grief. It is common to have different reactions toward a jarring situation, such as shock, sadness, fear, and anger."
Policastro encouraged students and their families to utilize the FRHSD Counseling Resources, which lists organizations, hotlines and groups that can help students through difficult circumstances.
Counselors will be available for students at school when they return from spring recess on Monday. The district includes high schools in Freehold Township, Freehold Borough, Colts Neck, Howell, Manalapan and Marlboro.
Upper Freehold School District superintendent Mark Guterl said both teens from Allentown attend Allentown High School.
"News like this is the worst type of news for anyone to hear. Today, we are thinking of the parents, siblings and family of all families involved. Any support we can offer our families, we will," Guterl said. "In the meantime, we know that this can be an enormous challenge for students to process and understand; at times, it's even hard for adults to comprehend a tragedy like this."
He said counseling services will be available for students and staff Wednesday from 4 p.m.- 6 p.m. and Thursday from 3 p.m. - 5 p.m. at Allentown High School.
Manalapan Mayor Susan Cohen extended her condolences and said she and the township will reach out to offer assistance.
No charges have been filed in the crash.
Looking for witnesses
Route 9 was closed southbound for over five hours for an investigation but was fully reopened for the morning commute.
Township police ask any witnesses to the crash to contact them at 732-462-7908 or the Prosecutor's Office at 800-533-7443.
The fatalities are the second and third of 2022 in Freehold Township and the sixth and seventh on the heavily traveled Route 9 corridor through Ocean, Monmouth and Middlesex counties, according to State Police records.