A woman who died from injuries sustained in an accident on the Garden State Parkway — as a passenger thrown from a car driven by an allegedly drunk driver — has been identified as a trustee of the Tinton Falls Board of Education.

Heather Brown, 35, was laid to rest Thursday.

Brown was ejected from a car driven by Crystal Summers of Orange that careened into a guardrail  on the southbound side in Irvington in the early hours of Nov. 7.  The car ran over Brown before crossing the lanes and hitting a concrete barrier, officials have said.

According to her obituary, Brown was a graduate of Monmouth Regional High School and Monmouth University and worked as an operations analyst at Commvault Systems in Tinton Falls. She was married to Melvin Pierce and had a 9-year-old daughter Heavin Leigh.

"Heather Brown was a valued member of the Tinton Falls Board of Education," said Board President Peter Karavites in a statement. "The Board of Education was shocked to hear of her passing. She was dedicated to helping the kids and did a wonderful job. She was instrumental on our curriculum committee and we will miss her insight."

A GoFundMe page has created to help with medical expenses and care of her daughter

"Heather's life was so full. Her daughter made her life complete, along with friends and family who love her," wrote the page's creator, Roxanne Bruinsma. "Heather was a woman who lived a full life and lived for others. She was never afraid. She was brave enough to be true to the woman she felt she should be."


"Heather was my 8th grade student. She always carried a smile on her face. Now, Heavin is here at the school and she has the same smile. I loved you as if you were my daughter. You will never be forgotten. Don't worry about Heavin. She is in my care," wrote Diana Stafford on her memorial page.

Summers will be charged with of driving while intoxicated pending further investigation, according to New Jersey State Police spokesman Lt. First Class Gregory Williams.