'They took over the town': Wildwood mayor reacts to deadly H20i car rally

More than 500 cars flooded the island as part of an unsanctioned vehicle rally called H2Oi.

ByTrish Hartman and Sharifa Jackson via WPVI logo
Tuesday, September 27, 2022
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"I've never seen anything like it. It was a riot," said Wildwood Mayor Pete Byron following last weekend's deadly crash during an unsanctioned car rally.

WILDWOOD, New Jersey (WPVI) -- Authorities are still investigating an unsanctioned car rally in Wildwood, New Jersey that left two people dead and several others injured.

Wildwood's mayor says he has already reached out to the Maryland city that cracked down on the group, causing them to choose a new location.

New video sent to Action News on Monday shows the moments after a car was struck in the midst of a chaotic scene in Wildwood Saturday night.

"We gotta break the *expletive* window," a man can be heard saying.

SEE ALSO: 2 killed during 'unsanctioned' car event in Wildwood, NJ; 1 arrested

More than 500 cars flooded the island as part of an unsanctioned vehicle rally called H2Oi.

Authorities say Gerald White of Pittsburgh crashed a 2003 Infiniti into a Honda Civic at a high rate of speed at Atlantic and Burk Avenues. Investigators say he also struck two pedestrians on the sidewalk.

White was charged with four counts of aggravated manslaughter and four counts of aggravated assault.

Timothy Ogden, 34, of Clayton, N.J. was in the Civic and was killed. His family said he had just attended the Irish Fall Festival.

One of the pedestrians, Lindsay Weakland, 18, of Carlisle, Pa., was also killed.

At a different intersection, a vehicle struck a golf cart, injuring passengers.

Authorities said Eryk R. Wnek, of Linden, New Jersey, was driving the 2020 BMW that crashed into the golf cart. He was charged with aggravated assault and assault by auto.

"I've never seen anything like it. It was a riot is what it was," said Wildwood Mayor Pete Byron on Monday. "They took over the town."

Gerald White

Byron says local police had coordinated with New Jersey State Police before the weekend and had extra resources in place.

On Saturday evening as things started to escalate, he called Governor Phil Murphy for additional backup.

"With that one phone call we were able to get police from as far away as Atlantic City. I wanted the National Guard," said Byron.

Prior to the event, an Instagram account promoting H2Oi posted the city's no tolerance warning, writing "no burnouts, no drifting," encouraging people to "cruise/park/chill."

Byron says he believes this rally was purposely planned for the purpose of racing illegally in the streets.

The group used to gather in Ocean City, Maryland.

Now Wildwood officials are reaching out to police there to find out what they did to crack down on the illegal gatherings.

Timothy Ogden

"We're going to do whatever we have to do and we're going to work with Ocean City as well as the other communities to make sure that not only are they not welcome in Wildwood. They're not welcome anywhere in Cape May County," said Byron.

Authorities say the investigation is ongoing.

Byron says they have a number of license plates caught on surveillance video, and more charges could be forthcoming.

Authorities say at one point more than 500 cars were on the island.

Police say they responded to hundreds of calls over the weekend and issued more than 200 tickets.