Young cousins in vehicle traveling wrong way die after collision with Old Bridge patrol car

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The Attorney General’s Office is conducting an investigation of a fatal vehicle collision that occurred on Thanksgiving in North Brunswick, where two children sustained fatal injuries.

The decedents’ identities are not being released at this time.

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According to the preliminary investigation, the fatal incident occurred on Nov. 25 at 11:35 p.m. at the intersection of Route 1 and Route 130 in North Brunswick. Two vehicles were involved in a collision. The first vehicle was operated by a civilian driving on the wrong side of the highway, and also contained two children. The second vehicle was a marked Old Bridge Police Department vehicle driven by an Old Bridge police officer, and which contained a second Old Bridge police officer and a civilian, according to information provided by the Office of Acting New Jersey Attorney General Andrew J. Bruck.

Both children in the civilian vehicle died from injuries sustained in the crash.

“It is with a heavy heart that I am informing you of the loss of one of our Hillcrest
students, Zion Barnes, a fourth grade student, and his cousin, a student who attends
school in another district,” Principal Albert J. Fico of Hillcrest School in Somerset wrote in a message to the community. “Our prayers and deepest sympathy goes out to the families of both children. Today, the district Student Assistance counselors and our guidance staff met with students in the fourth grade to provide them with support. Counseling and support
will be available to all of our students for as long as it is needed.”

The other child had not yet been identified as of press time, but was mentioned in a social media post as NuNu.

Both officers and the civilian within the police vehicle sustained injuries.

“The police officers involved are on the road to recovery and we are especially grateful that at some point in the future, they will be able to serve their Old Bridge community again,” Vinny Galgano, president of Old Bridge PBA Local 127, said in a social media post on Nov. 28, thanking supporters for their outpouring of support over the days following the accident.

This investigation is being conducted pursuant to Attorney General Directive 2019-4, which implements the statutory requirement that the Attorney General’s Office conduct the investigation of any death that occurs during an encounter with a law enforcement officer acting in the officer’s official capacity or while the decedent is in custody, and which establishes clear standards and procedures for conducting such investigations. Per Section II.H.3 of the Directive, the investigation will be bifurcated, with the AG’s Office investigating the conduct of the officers involved in the collision, and the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office investigating the conduct of any other parties that may be responsible.

The investigation is ongoing and no further information is being released at this time, according to the statement.

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