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Driver in Route 70 Crash May Have Been on Phone, Police Say

Kyriph Wallace set off a chain-reaction wreck involving four cars, police said.

A crash on Route 70 involved four cars and injured at least four people Thursday afternoon, police said. Photo via Manchester Township Police.
A crash on Route 70 involved four cars and injured at least four people Thursday afternoon, police said. Photo via Manchester Township Police.

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.

Margie November 01, 2013 at 07:31 PM
All u ppl bashing him b4 the truth of the *accident* comes out.... maybe he fell asleep tho. U don't kno his life. He works and goes to college. Maybe its that simple. He could have been exhausted and had to get to school. Think about sh!t sometimes b4 u all come out of ur face accusing ppl
Margie November 01, 2013 at 07:35 PM
I have known kyriph since he was about 13. He is a good kid. His nickname is Ipod... I feel so bad for everyone involved. Everything on Ipod's left side of his body is broken. Been thru numerous surgeries and more to come. He is in a medically induced coma right now. I just pray that everyone learns from the mistakes other ppl make. I also pray for his full recovery. *come on Ipod, pull thru kid*
Sharon H November 08, 2013 at 08:26 AM
Margie, obviously you text a lot. Your posts show the usual language of "ppl" who are hard to take seriously because he/she is writing in shorthand. We all make mistakes and some mistakes have bigger consequences than others. Put down that phone, folks. Period. Next time someone may get paralyzed or die because you just had to be on that phone no matter what. I hope Ipod comes through this and gets to complete his education and will have a great life ahead of him. And also hopefully the other victims can eventually get on with their own lives. Maybe if some people actually saw accidents of this type (I have seen two within 1 1/2 weeks) will understand why I feel so strongly about this.
paul johnson jr November 29, 2013 at 09:55 AM
He should do a little jail time if found guilty of texting while driving. The this serves as a warning to others argument doesn't work. This isn't the first time that this has happened, why didn't those incidents warn this guy? He could have killed people.

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