The driver of a Honda Civic that crossed over the dividing line and set off a four-car crash on Route 70 in Manchester Township early Thursday afternoon may have been texting and driving, Manchester Township Police said.
Kyriph Wallace, 19, of Lakewood, crashed head-on into a Subaru Forester after crossing into oncoming traffic around milepost 41.5 at about 12:45 p.m., police said, and the chain reaction involved a Ford E350 van and a Buick Lucerne, leaving multiple people injured.
Wallace and the Subaru's driver, Frank Dreifus, 74, of Whiting, both had to be flown from the scene, police said. Wallace suffered internal injuries and leg fractures, police said, and Dreifus suffered a head injury and a cracked vertebra; they were both flown to Jersey Shore University Hospital.
The other two drivers in the crash—David Rockhill, 70, of Whiting, and Elma Evans, 49, of Brick—weren't seriously hurt, police said, but were taken by ambulance to Community Medical Center in Toms River to be treated for head and knee pain.
Two other passengers in the Buick, Frank Trauger, 71 of Lambertville, and Giacinto D’Agostino, 72, of Cream Ridge, refused treatment at the scene, police said.
The crash remains under investigation by Manchester traffic officers Ptl. Antonio Ellis and Ptl. Thomas O’Hare; no cause was released or charges filed, though police indicated cell phone use has not been eliminated as a possible cause.
Assisting at the scene were paramedics from MONOC, EMTs from Quality Medical Transport, firefighters from the Whiting Volunteer Fire Department, the Lakehurst Volunteer Fire Company, Whiting Fire Police, New Jersey Department of Transportation Emergency Response Team, the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office Vehicular Homicide Unit, the Ocean County Prosecutor's High Tech Crimes Unit, and the Ocean County Sheriff’s Department Criminalistic Investigations Unit and members of the New Jersey State Police Fatal Accident Unit.
This article has been updated to reflect the correct responding companies at the scene.