BERNARDS TWP., NJ - Two 17-year-old township girls were hospitalized with serious injuries, and were admitted to Morristown Medical Center in critical condition, as result of a one-car motor vehicle crash on Lyons Road on Tuesday, Aug. 18, township police said.

A special districtwide email sent out on Wednesday from the school district said the injured girls are Ridge High School seniors, and offered counseling for those classmates who wished to reach out to the school.

Township police said on Thursday that a preliminary investigation indicates that at approximately 4:08 p.m., a 2005 Lexus SUV being driven by one of the girls veered off Lyons Road westbound near Knollcroft Road and struck a tree. The vehicle appeared to have traveled off road for at least 100 feet before striking the tree, according to police. 

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The driver, who was trapped in the vehicle, needed to be extricated by the Liberty Corner Fire Company's heavy rescue equipment before she was flown to Morristown Medical Center by NJ State Police medevac.

The other teen, in the back seat of the vehicle, appeared to have been unrestrained in the car, and was transported to Morristown by the Liberty Corner First Aid Squad, police said.

Both girls were admitted in critical condition, according to a police report issued on Thursday.

Several sources, including the school email, said the girls are cheerleaders at Ridge High School.

The circumstances of the crash remained under investigation as of Thursday, police said.

The roadway was shut down for approximately four hours. on Tuesday. Members of the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office Collision Accident Reconstruction Team responded to the scene, according to township police.

Responding agencies included the Bernards Township Police, Liberty Corner EMS, Liberty Corner Fire Co., Basking Fire and EMS, Atlantic Paramedics, Lyons Veterans Administration Fire Department., and Lyon VA Police Department.

In a release by police, the Bernards Township Police and Bernards Township Committee extended their sincere well wishes to the victims and their families in hopes of speedy and healthy recoveries.

Anyone with information regarding this crash is asked to contact Police Sgt. Glen Amerman of the Bernards Township Police Department at 908-766-1122. 

On Wednesday, Schools Superintendent Nick Markarian sent out a districtwide email saying he was "very saddened to share with you that yesterday afternoon two Ridge High School seniors were involved in a very serious car accident on the way home from a cheerleading practice."

The superintendent said both of the young women are hospitalized. "Our sincerest thoughts and prayers go out to these students and their families."

Markarian said the school crisis team has arranged for appropriately trained staff to be in place at Ridge High School on Wednesday to support students. School staff are here to support children and families.

Students were urged to contact Jillian Shadis, Supervisor of School Counseling, at 204 -2585 ext. 119, or if they require additional support.

The email referred to a prayer vigil for the students and their families held on Wednesday evening at Liberty Corner Presbyterian Church in Liberty Corner Village.