Lakewood High School opens for grief counseling after crash that killed three, injured two

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LAKEWOOD − Although closed for Columbus Day, the Lakewood Public School District opened the high school Monday for grief counseling after a fatal accident in the township killed three people and injured two.

All five young adults in a car involved in the crash "were former Lakewood graduates and students," according to the district's Facebook page. The accident happened on Cedar Bridge Avenue near New Hampshire Avenue about 2:20 a.m. Saturday.

Authorities have not yet identified the victims, and the Asbury Park Press was unable to confirm whether whether they were all tied to Lakewood.

The high school was open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday.

"Please know that you are not alone, and we are here to support you in any way we can," the school's Facebook post reads.

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The school district plans to take further steps throughout the week to "ensure that our students and staff have a safe and nurturing environment to express their emotions and find solace during this period of mourning," according to the post.

When police arrived at the crash scene they found that a 2008 Dodge truck and a Honda Accord had collided with enough force to split both vehicles in two, according to Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer.

According to an investigation by county and Lakewood detectives, the Accord was traveling east on Cedar Bridge Avenue when it ran a red light and collided with the truck in the intersection, Billhimer said.

The impact caused the truck to roll over and split in two as the Accord continued off the road and slammed into a metal traffic signal pole and broke in two, he said.

The Accord driver and one of the passengers were declared dead at the scene, according to the prosecutor's office. Three other passengers were taken to Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune, where one succumbed to her injuries, authorities said. The remaining two passengers remained in critical condition late Saturday, Billhimer said.

The driver of the truck was taken to the medical center and treated for minor injuries, he said.

There were no further updates on Monday, a state holiday.

Ken Serrano covers breaking news, crime and investigations. Reach him at 732-643-4029 or at kserrano@gannettnj.com.

This article originally appeared on Asbury Park Press: Lakewood NJ high school opens for counseling after horrific crash