NJ high school baseball player killed in crash

May 15, 2011 2:58:00 PM PDT
Authorities in southern New Jersey say a high school baseball player was killed and another person was critically injured in a two-car crash that occurred just hours before the teen's team was scheduled to play in a local tournament.

No charges have been filed so far in connection with the crash that occurred around 8:45 p.m. Friday on westbound Route 37 in Lakehurst, not far from the Lakehurst traffic circle. But the cause of the accident remained under investigation Saturday afternoon, and officials were trying to determine if speed was a factor in the crash.

Authorities say three Jackson Memorial High School baseball team members were in a 2004 Lincoln that split apart in the collision with the 2001 Ford Escape. Seventeen-year-old James Volpe, who was riding in the backseat, was ejected from the vehicle. He was pronounced dead at the scene a short time later.

His teammates - both 17 - weren't hurt in the crash, but authorities would not say which teen was driving the vehicle. It also wasn't known in Volpe - who friends say was a reserve outfielder and pinch runner for the team- was wearing a seat belt.

The driver of the other vehicle, 41-year-old Robert Vallee of Manchester, was flown to Jersey Shore University Medical Center, where he remained in critical condition on Saturday afternoon. But further details on his injuries were not disclosed.

Jackson Memorial was scheduled to play Saturday afternoon in the semifinals of the Ocean County Baseball Tournament. But that matchup and another semifinal game were postponed indefinitely due to the crash.