MOUNT OLIVE — State Police continue their search for the driver who fled the scene of a crash on Route 80 Thursday night that left a 6-year-old boy dead.

The boy was a passenger in a Honda HRV in a four-car crash that happened around 7:45 p.m. on eastbound Route 80 in Roxbury Township near Exit 28.

The driver who started the chain reaction left the scene in a vehicle whose make and model is not known by State Police.

Ashley Van Dine-Palmer said her son Lorenzo Van Dine was with his uncle in the vehicle and created a GoFundMe page to help with her son's funeral expenses. As of Monday afternoon over $73,000 had been donated.

"He also was a kind-hearted loving boy who wanted to be a cop when he grew up. He just started out wanting to be on Master Chef Junior and always tried to make new things. He was my family’s love. And he knew how to make everyone’s day brighter," Van Dine-Palmer wrote.

Lorenzo Van Dine
Lorenzo Van Dine (Ashley Vandine-Palmer)

Family of a first responder

Flanders Fire Co. 1 and Rescue Squad Chief Tyler Wargo said the boy's family are members of the Budd Lake fire company.

"This call hit close to home because this young bright child filled with smiles and laughter lives in Mt. Olive with family," Wargo said. "I ask we all come together as a community to help this family in need and provide your thoughts and prayers during this tragic and difficult time."

Budd Lake Fire Co. 1 on their Facebook page said the boy was the grandson of a member.

Lorenzo Van Dine
Lorenzo Van Dine (Mount Olive Junior Marauders Football Association)

An athlete at a young age

Hackettstown Youth Wrestling on their Facebook page said Lorenzo Van Dine was a wrestler and also played football and baseball. The Mount Olive Junior Marauders Football Association said the boy's nickname was "Renni."

"Renni was a fun-loving kid, with the brightest smile and had the biggest personality," the association wrote on its Facebook page.

Vandine is a student at the Chesterfield Stephens Elementary School in Mount Olive, Superintendent Rob Zywicki told New Jersey 101.5. The district dispatched its crisis response team upon learning of the boy's death and counseling will be available for students and staff, Zywicki said.

State Police investigators are asking anyone who may have witnessed the crash or the events that led up to it to call Troop B Netcong Station at 973-347-1001. Information can also be provided anonymously.

5 holiday deaths on NJ roads

At least five people were killed on New Jersey highways during the State Police Christmas enforcement period between Thursday and Sunday.

Three people including a teen from Atlantic City died when their Honda slammed into the Egg Harbor toll plaza on the Atlantic City Expressway Sunday night.

A crash on the Garden State Parkway in Woodbridge on Friday morning killed a 47-year-old New Brunswick woman, State Police told

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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