Deadly crash at NJ school still under investigation

Pictured: Pine Beach crash victims Matthew Budesa, Kim VanGorden and Matthew Witzgall.

February 4, 2011 8:27:24 AM PST
Investigators are still looking into a mysterious car crash in New Jersey that left three young adults dead.

The wreckage of a 2011 Hyundai Accent was found after it slammed into the Pine Beach Elementary School in Pine Beach, New Jersey around 6:45 a.m. Thursday.

The impact left the car standing upright on its front-end with a large hole left in the school. The bodies of three people were still inside the vehicle.

The crash occurred near a back entrance to the school, which is in a residential neighborhood. However, there are no security cameras in that area of the building, officials said.

The driver of the car has been identified as Matthew Budesa, 20, of Pine Beach and the son of a local councilman. The passengers are identified as Kimberly VanGorden, 20, of Beachwood and Matt Witzgall, 21, of Toms River.

So far, it appears no one knows when the crash actually happened. It apparently occured sometime after a Pine Beach police officer patrolled the area between 4:15 a.m. and 4:30 a.m. That officer did not report anything unusual.

The circumstances that led to the crash also remain mystery. An access road leads right to the point of impact, but there are no skid marks anywhere in the parking lot.

"The only way that could have happened is if they had come through that little side street over there in the woods and just floored it," Debbie McConnell of Pine Beach told Action News on Thursday.

Police say the three people in the car were not wearing their seatbelts and they sustained multiple traumatic injuries.

Michael Mohel, deputy chief of the Ocean County prosecutor's office, declined to discuss how fast the vehicle may have been traveling, and he wouldn't speculate on whether drugs or alcohol may have played a role. He said autopsies would be performed on the victims.


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