‘Bright smile, sweet soul’ — Kendall Park teen dies in D&R canal crash
FRANKLIN (Somerset) — A 17-year-old girl was killed Friday night when her Jeep went off the road and plunged into the Delaware & Raritan Canal.
Police said they were notified about 9:20 p.m. about vehicle in the water along Canal Road, a dark, narrow and winding roadway that follows the canal. The crash was near Suydam Road.
It took divers and a State Police helicopter an hour to find the jeep and pull out the teen, who was pronounced dead at the hospital.
A GoFundMe page identified her as Emily Murillo from the Kendall Park section of South Brunswick.
"For those fortunate enough to have really known Emmy, you know how deeply we will miss her bright smile and sweet, sweet soul," according to the GoFundMe page, which will help with her family's funeral expenses.
Her mother, Erin Popolo, said online that the family was "devastated."
"We are in shock, and we are grieving. This is an unimaginable tragedy and we are profoundly sad. Her sister Kaylee, her stepdad Joe, her 2 step brothers Dom & Vince and I will never be the same without our crazy, smiley Emmy here with us. We are broken, and not sure how to do this life without her," she wrote.
South Brunswick schools Superintendent Scott Feder said the student was a senior at South Brunswick High School who also had attended Brunswick Acres, Indian Fields and Crossroads South.
"This student has had very close connections with teachers and support staff over the years, and was also connected to younger children at Cambridge by working in the afterschool program this year," he said in a letter to the school community.
In addition to counseling, the district was providing an online Zoom discussion room for faculty and staff during the snow day on Monday.
A viewing will be held outdoors in heated tents at the family's home on Thursday and Friday from 4 to 7 p.m. Her funeral is scheduled for Saturday at Brunswick Memorial Funeral Home.