By Kim Glovas, Robin Rieger
WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP, Nj (CBS) — Sobbing and holding tight to one another, Washington Township high school students, most of them seniors, and many parents gathered on Sunday at the scene of a two car crash that killed their classmate, 18-year old Nicole Kellenyi on Saturday night.
Many of them hugged Kellenyi’s father, devastated by his families loss, but grateful for the community’s support at a growing memorial.
“It’s just amazing to see how many people that Nicki’s life, she touched, everybody loved her,” said Mike Kellenyi.
Kellenyi was in the back seat of a 1998 Saturn, driven by her 18-year-old friend Alexandria Giantonnio. 18-year-old Taylor Petner was a passenger in front.
“The Saturn was traveling west on Altair drive. At some point the Saturn made a left turn, and at that time a pickup truck, which was traveling south on Pitman Downer Road, struck the Saturn,” said police.
“It just sounded like an atomic bomb,” said Denise Hultz, who lives nearby. She heard the crash, saw the aftermath on the median and dialed 9-1-1.
“I heard screaming,” said Hultz. “It brought chills right to me.”
Police say Petner, who is in serious condition, was ejected from the car. Giantonnio, who has been released from the hospital was able to get out, but Kellenyi was trapped in the back seat.
Kevin Ferry says he tried to help her after hearing the crash.
“I noticed she was kind of like still alive, but she wasn’t coherent at all,” said Ferry.
Weeks away for prom and later graduation, students who decorated Kellenyi’s parking space at the high school are learning one of life’s most painful lessons
“It just makes everybody realize how fast anything can happen,” said senior, Leah Fedorko.
“I really want to tell all parents, everybody out there, tell your kids before they go out that you love them,” Mike Kellenyi added.
Police have done blood tests on both drivers to see if drugs or alcohol played a part in the crash. They will also try to determine if either driver was using a cell phone at the time of the crash.
According to police, the driver of the pickup truck, Joann Finnegan, had the right of way on Pitman Downer Road. She and her husband Patrick Finnegan were treated for minor injuries, police say.
The speed limit on Pitman Downer Road is 45 mph. Traffic on Altair Drive has a stop sign, some living close to the intersection say they would prefer a traffic light.