NEWARK — Two young men and a woman who died in a fiery crash on Route 22 late Tuesday night were returning home from a large beach party an hour away in Point Pleasant Beach, authorities said.

The Cadillac CTS heading westbound on Route 22 in the area of Weequahic Park crashed and burst into flames around 11:11 p.m., Essex County prosecutors said.

Two passengers, Taylor Hill, 19, and Kamal Johnson, 18, both Newark residents, were pronounced dead at the scene.

Nashawn Brooks, 20, of Irvington, died late Wednesday morning at University Hospital.

The 19-year-old woman driver and another woman in the car continue to fight for their lives in the hospital.

Investigators have not said what caused the single-car crash but prosecutors said that speed does not appear to be a factor.

During his daily news briefing on Wednesday, Gov. Phil Murphy mentioned that the occupants of the vehicle were on their way back from a large gathering an hour to the south.

"I happened to have spoken with (Newark) Mayor Baraka. Three young guys from Newark were killed on Route 22 on the way back from Point Pleasant Beach," Murphy said, adding that two other males were hospitalized.

"Please keep them in your prayers," Murphy said.

Point Pleasant Mayor Paul Kanitra called it "a tragic loss of life."

Point Pleasant Beach police said "thousands" had descended on the beach during the afternoon and evening. Kanitra was not happy with the behavior of what he described as "a bunch of disrespectful young people looking for a good time and not caring at all how they acted in the process."

Six people were arrested by Point Pleasant police.

RLS Metro Breaking News reported that police told them the driver of a Cadillac CTS lost control and crashed.

Police told RLS that five people were inside the car, all under the age of 20. Two females were being treated for severe burns at St. Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston.

Route 22 was closed near the Hillside border until 6:30 a.m.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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