FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP - Loved ones attended a vigil Wednesday night for a young couple killed when a Volkswagen Jetta crossed a road's centerline in Freehold Township.
Investigators say 19-year-old Nicholas Dever, of Freehold Borough, was driving southbound on Kozloski Road with his 20-year-old girlfriend Noelle DeLuccio, from Howell Township. Dever lost control of his Volkswagen Jetta and crossed into the northbound lanes.
The Jetta struck a Honda Pilot, driven by 50-year-old Thomas Koller, of Freehold Township, who was also killed.
Dever and DeLuccio had a young child together. Their toddler had been the first baby born in 2013 in Monmouth and Ocean counties. A close friend of Dever says he was a great father, and devoted to his daughter.
The toddler was with DeLuccio's parents at the time of the crash.
Koller lived less than a mile from the accident scene.
A 25-year-old man from Freehold Borough driving a Toyota Camry was also involved in the crash and was taken to a hospital via medevac. Prosecutors say he remains in "extremely critical condition" at Jersey Shore University Medical Center. Police say the Pilot was partially airborne and landed on the Camry.
Prosecutors noted that all of the passengers were wearing their seatbelts and airbags were deployed. Investigators are looking at possible mechanical failure or driver distraction as the cause of the crash, but excessive speed is not believed to have played a role.
"The reality is, the two people who could tell us - really what happened inside that 2009 Volkswagen, are no longer with us," says Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni. "We are going to need the public's assistance."
Investigators are urging anyone who may have witnessed the crash to call Detective Eric Kerecman, of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, at 732-522-8885, or Police Officer Joseph Winowski, of the Freehold Police Department, at 732-462-7908.