A 17-year-old male passenger died in a tragic single-vehicle crash in Mahwah, New Jersey, last Saturday evening. According to prosecutors, who are investigating how the accident may have occurred, the crash was reported to 911 operators at approximately 10:32 p.m. The force of the collision caused the teen who died to be ejected from the vehicle.

Another 17-year-old male passenger in the vehicle was injured, but lucky to survive the accident. According to neighbors who witnessed the accident scene, they believe that driver of the vehicle was traveling too fast for the residential neighborhood. One witness claims she heard the boom of the collision from inside her home. When she ran outside to investigate, she saw the crumpled sport utility vehicle the teens were traveling in.

Authorities suspect that the vehicle driver’s ability to maneuver may have been hindered by leaves lining the street, and this may have contributed to the accident. However, the investigation is ongoing and no conclusive results have been released. Shortly after the incident, it was reported that flowers had been placed around a tree at the accident scene.

In any fatal New Jersey accident, local authorities will struggle to determine the cause of the incident. First, they will try to determine if unlawful activity may have been involved — such as drunk driving, drugged driving, speeding or other violations. In the event authorities determine an at-fault party, they will identify that party in the accident report and file appropriate charges against the individual when necessary. Those charges, the results of criminal court proceedings and other evidence gathered by police may then be used by anyone injured in the accident to pursue civil claims against the at-fault party in court.

Source: NJ.com, “Teen killed, another injured in Mahwah crash, authorities say,” Sara Jerde and Myles Ma, Oct. 23, 2016