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Two Pinelands High School students in critical condition after Saturday crash

Two Pinelands High School students in critical condition after Saturday crash

Ocean County prosecutor's office

LITTLE EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP — Two Pinelands Regional High School students were critically injured in a car accident Saturday evening that remains under investigation, the district administration confirmed.

Officers from Little Egg Harbor Township Police Department responded to the area of Radio Road and Baltusrol Court around 9:45 p.m. for a two-vehicle crash with serious injuries. 

According to the investigation, a 2017 Hyundai Elantra operated by Michael Pillarella, 26, of Manahawkin, was traveling northbound on Radio Road when he failed to negotiate a curve in the roadway, crossed over the centerline, and struck an oncoming 2006 Toyota XB traveling southbound on Radio Road.

The driver and the passenger of the Toyota, both of whom are under the age of 18, were airlifted to Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune, where they remained listed in critical condition Monday afternoon.

Pillarella was airlifted to AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center Trauma Center in Atlantic City, treated for injuries and released. He was issued motor vehicle summonses for reckless driving and failure to maintain lane. A search warrant was obtained for a draw of Pillarella’s blood, and laboratory results remain pending.

“This matter remains under investigation, and additional charges may be forthcoming,” Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer said.

Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Vehicular Homicide Unit, Little Egg Harbor Township Police Department, New Jersey State Police, and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit are assisting in the investigation.

Pinelands Regional School District Superintendent Melissa McCooley said that the administrative team is offering counseling services to students in response to the accident and that the families of the students remain in their thoughts and prayers.

A gofundme online fundraiser has been set up for the family of one of the victims to help pay for medical and other expenses.

In less than 24 hours, more than $4,000 has been raised for the family.

In addition, two meal trains have been set up for the families  with donated meals each day through the end of February.

Contact: 609-272-7251

Twitter @clairelowe

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Staff Writer

I began covering South Jersey in 2008 after graduating from Rowan University with a degree in journalism. After seven years at The Current and Gazette newspapers, I joined The Press in 2015. I currently cover education.

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