17-year-old driver charged with killing friend in post-prom crash
NEWTON — A 17-year-old has been charged in the death of his teen friend and inuring two others after crashing a rented car he was driving a day after their prom.
The driver, previously identified as Anthony Burke, of Newton, was behind the wheel of a Mercedes C300 that went off Greendale Road in Fredon on May 11, according to State Police.
Alexis "Lexi" Faye, the daughter of a Newtown school board member, died in the crash.
Burke and passenger Maria Fiore, 16, of Andover, were airlifted to a hospital. Another passenger, Nicholas Chavarria, 17, of Newton, suffered minor injuries.
Police believe the group was coming back from a trip to Turtle Back Zoo in West Orange the day after their prom.
State Police told NJ.com on Wednesday that the driver was charged as a juvenile with death by auto and assault by auto.
New Jersey 101.5 usually does not identify minors charged with crimes but Burke's identify has been widely reported.
Burke was also issued moving violations for speeding, reckless driving, failure to maintain a lane, failure to keep right, and two summonses for violating the provisions of his state-issued, graduated driver license.
Under New Jersey law, teens with a graduated drivers license may only have one additional passenger in their vehicle unless accompanied by a parent or guardian. Their vehicles must also display a decal on the license plates.
First Assistant Sussex County Prosecutor Gregory Mueller earlier told the New Jersey Herald that the Mercedes had been rented by Burke's mother. Car rental companies generally do not rent cars to minors or allow them to operate the vehicle.
Faye was remembered as having a "heart of gold" with a bright smile and infectious laugh.
She was the timekeeper for the boys lacrosse team. The Lexi Faye Heart of Gold Lacrosse Scholarship was established in her memory.
During her funeral, her parents asked classmates and friends of Faye's to not ostracize Burke, according to the New Jersey Herald. The Rev. St Sutton of the St. Joseph Church in Newton spoke on behalf of her father and said the crash was an accident. He said they had been friends since elementary school.
"Please do not leave him out of your circle of friends," Sutton said at her funeral.
Thursday has been dubbed "Newton Strong Day" with 41 schools in Sussex, Warren, Morris, Passaic and Bergen counties and more than 60 businesses and organizations continuing to show their support for Faye's family with a "whiteout" in which they will wear white ribbons and wristbands.
All donations raised will allow the Faye family to fund a scholarship in Lexi’s name.
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