NJ high school senior killed in crash in Delaware, police say
Authorities in Delaware are investigating a multi-vehicle crash involving a tractor-trailer that claimed the life of a 17-year-old New Jersey student and injured four others.
Delaware police say the collision, which occurred at about 11:33 p.m. Friday, resulted in the death of Tyler Brown of Woolwich, a member of the Salesianum High School Class of 2016. The school's principal, Father Fr. Chris Beretta, broke the news to the school community via the school's website.
"Having lost one of our brothers, we must come together as never before," the principal said in a message.
Eighteen-year-old John Kirsch, a Delaware resident who was also a senior at Salesianum, who was driving the Dodge Dakota in which Brown was a passenger, survived the crash with injuries.
According to Delaware State Police, the accident took place on US Route 301 Middletown Warwick Road at Strawberry Lane in Middletown when a 2006 Kenworth tractor-trailer, operated by 52-year-old Julio Gallegos, also of New Jersey, was traveling northbound on US 301 approaching the intersection of Strawberry Lane.
Police say Kirsch's vehicle "was traveling eastbound on Strawberry Lane and proceeded from the stop sign on the west side of US 301 and attempted to cross the lanes and continue eastbound."
"The Dodge Dakota pulled directly into the path of the tractor trailer where the front struck the right passenger side of the Dakota in the intersection. Both vehicles traveled in a northeasterly direction after the impact," police said in a press release.
The tractor trailer rolled onto it's side following the impact. The driver and the passenger, Carolina Garcia, 30, of Delaware, were both wearing seat belts. They suffered serious injuries and were transported to a local trauma center.
Kirsch was treated on the scene for various injuries to his upper body and was taken to Christiana Hospital Trauma Center in Delaware. A 17-year-old female, identified by the Salesianum principal as Kelly Muschiatti, a senior at Padua Academy in Delaware, was treated at the scene for injuries to her face and head.
"She was flown, with the paramedics from the Delaware State Police and New Castle County, by the Delaware State Police Aviation Unit to the Christiana Hospital Trauma Center with life threatening injuries and is currently in critical condition," police said.
All three of the teens had to be extricated from the vehicle by firefighters. Police have not yet determined if alcohol played a part in the crash or if the occupants of the Dodge Dakota were wearing their seat belts.
The Salesianum school community gathered Saturday evening for a prayer service remember Brown and pray for the other teens who were injured in Friday's crash.
"Let us all pray for Tyler's soul as we entrust him to our loving and merciful God, and for his mom and dad at this time of unimaginable grief," the principal said in his message. "Let us pray for Kelly, that she may recover from her injuries, and for the Padua community in their own moment of sadness and adversity. And let us pray for John, who will need our love and support more than ever. These will be difficult days for our school community that will test and challenge every one of us. But our brotherhood is strong and true. And we will walk this journey together."
The school chapel will be open from noon to 6 p.m. Sunday and Brown's artwork will be on display for members of the community to view. Father Beretta also said the school will observe a "special schedule" on Monday to allow students and faculty time to grieve.
Toniann Antonelli is the digital managing editor for news at NJ 101.5. Reach her at email@example.com, or on Twitter @ToniRadio1015.