PENNSAUKEN N.J. (CBS) — Students and staff at Pennsauken High School are sharing their memories of two students who died in a tragic accident over the weekend. The brothers, 16-year-old Marcus Crawford and 15-year-old Emmanuel Crawford, were among three teenagers killed in the single-car crash on the Atlantic City Expressway.
“I had the worst feeling and I didn’t want him in that car,” said Jay-Lynn Robinson, Marcus’ girlfriend. “I loved that boy with everything and nobody could tell me that I couldn’t.”
New Jersey State Police say shortly after 3 p.m. Sunday, the boys’ 19-year-old brother, Nijul Crawford, was driving eastbound on the AC Expressway, when just after passing Hammonton, his car overturned and crashed into several trees. Nijul survived the crash that killed his brothers and his girlfriend, 19-year-old Maryha Toro, the mother of a little girl.
“It just breaks my heart to know that that little girl lost her mom yesterday,” Robinson said. “And it really breaks my heart because it’s not fair to her.”
Word of the crash spread quickly through Pennsauken High School, where Marcus was a rising junior and Manny a rising sophomore. Friends and classmates remember the brothers as being talented athletes, but more importantly, for their hearts.
“Everyone loved them, there was no way you could hate either of them,” said Manny’s close friend Janae Perez. “They were so nice and they were so kind to everyone. They were just friends with everyone. So Pennsauken is hurting all together right now.”
The community is rallying behind the Crawford family, especially the boys’ mother, who the school district called “a valued member of the Pennsauken school family.”
“I can’t even imagine what she’s going through right now, to lose both of her sons and have one in the hospital,” Perez said. “I am really praying that, I’m really going to pray for her and Nijul and everyone in the family.”
The Pennsauken School District released a statement Monday, reading in part: “The Pennsauken School District offers our most sincere condolences to their family. Our heart breaks for their mother, who has been a valued member of the Pennsauken School Family. We hope their brother, who was also in the accident, makes a full recovery. And our thoughts and prayers are with their sister, who is scheduled to graduate tonight as a member of the Pennsauken High School Class of 2020.
“Finally, we share in the sorrow of their classmates, teachers, coaches, and the Township community. May we all lean on each other to find solace during this difficult time.”
On Monday, Pennsauken High School held the first of several graduation ceremonies this week. There will be a moment of silence observed in the boys’ memory at each ceremony. Their older sister was set to graduate Monday evening.
Meanwhile, the cause of the crash is still under investigation.