NEW BRUNSWICK — Two men from New Brunswick and North Brunswick were pronounced dead after the car they were riding in went off Route 18 and into the Raritan River early on Monday.

New Brunswick Police said their preliminary investigation determined Robert J. Veras-Toribio, 22, of North Brunswick was behind the wheel and lost control of a 2009 Honda Accord just past the Route 27 off ramp just before 1 a.m.

The Accord hit a guardrail, went through a wooded area and wound up partially submerged in the Raritan River. Veras-Toribio was thrown from the car and found outside the car, according to police. Passenger Kelvin Lantigua, 21, of New Brunswick was found inside the car, police said.

Friends who heard the crash happen ran to the scene and tried to administer CPR to Veras-Toribio before medic units arrived, police said. The New Brunswick Fire Department cleared the wooded area along the river to help rescue crews get to the vehicle. The road was closed several hours and reopened around 5:30 a.m.

Both men died at the scene.

Condolences were post to Facebook pages belonging to Lantigua and Veras. The pages identified each as former New Brunswick High School students.

Lantiqua's page describes him as a photographer and apparel designer, and had recently began working at Blue Moon Video Productions & Photography.

"We are so saddened , Last night we lost one of our new teammates Kelvin Lantigua in a tragic car accident, our prayers go out to him and his family. He will be missed," the company wrote on its Facebook page.

New Brunswick Public Schools in a statement wrote "The entire New Brunswick Public Schools family is deeply saddened to hear of the passing of two former students earlier today, in a motor vehicle accident. We extend our heartfelt condolences to their relatives and friends."

Police said their investigation is continuing, and that have not determined why the car left the roadway. Police ask anyone with information about the crash call the New Brunswick Police Department’s Traffic Safety Unit at 732-745-5005.

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