WARREN TOWNSHIP — A 9-year-old boy and his father both died in the Route 78 crash that brought traffic to a standstill for hours Saturday night, after the father sped along the highway at more than 100 mph, state police said.
Stephen Weekes, 34, of Bethlehem, Pa., and his son Anthony Weekes, 9, of Jamaica, N.Y., were both declared dead at the scene, State Police said in a statement released Monday. Sgt. Jeff Flynn said police are still investigating whether Stephen Weekes had custody of his son.
According to the statement, Stephen Weekes “blew past a marked troop car” in his Honda Accord at about 8:45 p.m. on Saturday night. Police have previously said the incident began in Berkeley Heights. The trooper activated his emergency lights and attempted to catch up to the car, which was travelling “well over” 100 mph, police said.
The trooper was trying to safely close the distance for more than 3 miles, but was still a long distance away when the Honda struck the side of a Hyundai Elantra and then careened off into the trees to the right side of the highway, police said.
No other police cars were involved in the pursuit, Flynn said.
That crash prompted another — the Hyundai driver, Greg Frisoli, 22, of Basking Ridge, and his passenger, Calvin Spann, 23, of Maywood, exited their vehicle after the collision, police said. Eliza Deck, 32, of Clinton, lost control of her Porsche Boxster as she approached the Hyundai in the left lane, striking Frisoli and Spann and their car, he said. Both cars ended up in the center median. Frisoli, Spann and Deck are all in stable condition after being transported to Morristown Medical Center, he said.
Police said they still don’t know why Stephen Weekes was travelling so fast. He said there was “evidence in the car indicating possible intoxication,” but didn’t say what that evidence was, and a medical examiner’s test will not be complete for several weeks.
State Police Fatal Crash Investigation, Crime Scene Investigation, Criminal Investigation Office and Somerville Station personnel are continuing the investigation in cooperation with the Somerset County Prosecutor’s Office, police said.
Route 78 didn’t reopen until after 2 a.m. Although the state Department of Transportation described delays as ranging from 10 to 15 minutes at times, and more than an hour at others, several people trapped in the traffic took to Twitter saying they’d been there for hours.
Flynn said the road remained closed for so long because two separate accidents had to be investigated, and because one of the pedestrians was airlifted to Morristown Medical Center.
Clarification: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the name of the Hyundai driver, citing a state police announcement. State police have since verified the correct name.
Originally published here by Louis C. Hochman at nj.com