SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ – As investigators work to piece the events of Friday morning’s deadly crash on Route 1 that killed a Toms River teenager, police are releasing the identities of the eight victims.
The crash took place at the intersection of Route 1 north and Deans Lane at 5:13 a.m. Jan. 1.
According to police, Azel M. Hernandez Vargas, 27, of Toms River, was driving a 2005 Nissan Sentra as he took the jug handle from Route 1 south, crossing onto Deans Lane when he was hit broadside by a 2009 Nissan Quest minivan, operated by Paramjit Singh, 59, of North Brunswick.
The collision sent the Sentra sideways into a utility pole on the side of Route 1 north, trapping the occupants inside.
The Monmouth Junction Fire Department used its Jaws of Life to free the five victims from the mangled wreckage, according to police.
A rear passenger in the Sentra, identified as Blanca Azucena Hernandez Vargas, 13, of Toms River, was taken to Robert Wood University Hospital in New Brunswick in critical condition and later died from her injuries Friday night, according to police.
Blanca was the younger sister of the Sentra’s driver, police said.
The two other rear Sentra passengers, Ilda Hernandez, 21, of Toms River and Cirilo Velazquez-Roja, 21, of Lakewood, were also transported to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in critical condition.
Police said that both Hernandez and Velazquez-Roja remain in critical condition as of Monday..
Azel M. Hernandez Vargas and front seat passenger Sarah Zollner, 19, also from Toms River, were treated at the hospital for non-life-threatening injuries, police said.
The passengers in the minivan, identified as Rajinder Kaur, 59, and Harinder Kaur, 32, both of North Brunswick, were also treated along with Singh at the hospital for non-life-threatening injuries, police said.
Police said the investigation into the crash is continuing and looking into all factors that may have played a role.
Anyone with information on the crash is asked to contact Officer William Merkler or Sergeant Gary Holsten at (732) 329-4000 ext. 7472.
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