We’re sad to report that a 16-year-old girl — a star high school athlete from Bloomfield — was killed in an auto accident on Sept. 30. The teenager was in the back seat of a car that was struck by a speeding vehicle coming from the opposite direction. Two friends were with her in the car at the time of the crash, which happened a short distance from the girl’s home.

The other passenger in the vehicle was taken to a local hospital and is recovering. A news site did not specify whether the second passenger’s injuries were serious. At the time of an Oct. 1 report, authorities had not indicated whether alcohol or drugs were suspected in the crash, but the investigation was still underway. No charges have yet been filed.

The principal at Bloomfield High School said that the students would have access to grief counselors in the wake of their friend’s death, and a memorial of flowers and pictures was created on the corner where the fatal accident happened. The girl’s family is no doubt looking for answers.

This year, as of Oct. 2, the New Jersey State Police has recorded 412 fatal auto accidents. Nine passengers aged 16 or under have died in car accidents, and seven pedestrians who were 16 or under died after being struck by a motorist. No drivers in that age group have died this year.

The families of fatal auto accident victims in New Jersey should know that our state has laws designed to help them. The pain and confusion after the loss of a young loved one can be devastating, but there is help available.

Source: NBC New York, “Star NJ High School Athlete Killed in Crash,” Jonathan Vigliotti, Sept. 30, 2012

Source: njsp.org, “Year to Date Statewide Fatal Crash Statistics,” Oct. 2, 2012