More arrests expected in deadly Wildwood, NJ, car rally
More arrests are expected after that deadly unsanctioned car rally in Wildwood last Saturday.
The Cape May County Prosecutor's office says the investigation is ongoing.
Wildwood Mayor Pete Byron says surveillance video captured a number of license plates, and police are working to track those vehicles down.
Byron told ABC Action News this was no rally, "It was a riot, is what it was."
Fleeing the scene of the first accident, police say, Gerald White, of Pittsburgh, hit a Honda Civic, and then plowed into pedestrians. A passenger in the Honda and and 18-year-old female pedestrian were killed.
Prosecutor Jeffrey Sutherland likened the tragic deaths by auto to gun crime.
"We have heard of tragic deaths around this country based on stray bullets from illegal shootings hitting innocent bystanders and children; this is no different," Sutherland said in a statement, "Driving a motor vehicle at a high speed in a populated area is essentially the same as discharging a firearm. The results are the same, death and injury."
The rally was huge
We are getting a better idea of the size and scope of the pop-up car rally. Police now estimate as many as 500 cars descended on the small beach towns in a matter of hours.
In Wildwood Crest, police say they stopped more than 100 vehicles and issued 60 tickets.
Video on social media show packed streets and sidewalks.
Other videos show cars peeling out and leaving rubber streaks on the pavement, doing donuts and racing.
Preventing future rallies
As the criminal investigation continues, attention is also turning to preventing repeat incidents.
Last Saturday's event has typically been held in Ocean City, Maryland, but local officials banned it because of past problems. Wildwood's mayor says they are now talking to police in Ocean City to see how they managed to keep the cars out.
New Jersey State Sen. Michael Testa, R-Vineland, says Gov. Phil Murphy needs to get involved.
Murphy did send state police into the Wildwoods when the mayor called for help. Mayor Byron is grateful, but says he hoped for the National Guard.
Testa says that's not enough, and wants a proactive plan in place before it happens again.
"Unless the Murphy administration works with legislators and local officials who have called for a comprehensive and coordinated plan that includes state support, the problem will only continue to get worse," Testa said on twitter.
Similar calls for help were made before the start of the Summer when pop-up booze and weed parties starting happening in shore towns.
While the governor has said he has no tolerance for this type of behavior, his administration has yet to agree to help craft a comprehensive plan to prevent it.
Report anything you know
The Cape May County Prosecutor's Office urges anyone with information is encouraged to call (609) 465-1135, or the information can be reported anonymously through the Cape May County Prosecutor's Office Anonymous TIP System by visiting cmcpo.tips from any computer, tablet, or smart phone. Information can also be reported to the Cape May County Sheriff’s Tip Line at cmcsheriff.net and click on anonymous tip, or through the Cape May County Crime Stoppers, 609-889-3597
Eric Scott is the senior political director and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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