A New Jersey family is mourning the loss of their 13-year-old daughter Blanca Azucena Hernandez Vargas of Toms River, who was killed in a car crash while coming home from a New Year’s Eve party with four other people, reported ABC 7 NY. At approximately 5 a.m. on December 31, 2015, Blanca was riding in the back seat with no seat belt on in a 2005 Nissan Sentra, driven by her 27-year-old brother Azel Hernandez Vargas, when the vehicle suddenly went into the path of a 2009 Nissan Quest minivan — with three passengers, which included a husband and wife, along with a an adult relative — causing the Sentra to spin out of control.
The vehicle came to an abrupt stop when it struck a utility pole, causing the Sentra to be torn apart. Eight people were injured during the car crash and were transported to a local hospital, but only three were listed in critical condition. However, just hours after Blanca arrived at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, she succumbed to her injuries.
Police officials later determined during a preliminary investigation that Blanca’s older brother may have been distracted by his cell phone when he was crossing Route 1 in South Brunswick, attempting to switch lanes, when he ran a red light and crashed into another vehicle. According to Yahoo News, there has been no indication that alcohol played a role in the fatal car crash. As of now, police officials say that criminal charges have not been filed against Azel after reportedly causing the car crash that killed his 13-year-old sister. But sources say that “police will review the case with the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office before any action is taken.”
James Ryan, who is the captain of the South Brunswick Police Department, stated that “The leading indication is that a cell phone may have played a part in it. Witness statements indicate that the cell phone might have been used for navigation purposes, the driver might have been lost and as a result of that this is what happened.”
“The person who was driving the car is the 13-year-old’s brother, so because of this lapse in judgment his younger sister is killed, this is a tragedy, there’s nothing at this point in time that indicates anything other than that.”
Students at Toms River Intermediate North, where Blanca attended, were stunned after learning about the car crash that took her life. The school made sure that crisis-intervention counselors were on site in case any of their students were in need of support. The Toms River Regional Schools District’s spokesperson Tammi Comer-Millar stated that “The school is deeply saddened at the loss of someone so young. The District’s thoughts and prayers are with the family.”
Occupants in the 2005 Nissan Sentra:
- Blanca Azucena Hernandez Vargas, 15, of Toms River
- Azel Hernandez Vargas, 27, of Toms River
- Sarah Zollner, 19, of Toms River
- Cirilo Velazquez-Roj, 21, of Lakeland
- Ilda Hernandez, 21, of Toms River
Occupants in the 2009 Nissan Quest minivan:
- Paramjit Singh, 59, of North Brunswick
- Rajinder Kaur, 59, of North Brunswick
- Harinder Kaur, 32, of North Brunswick
Blanca’s family has declined to speak about the fatal car crash and how their son, who police say was distracted by a cell phone, caused the accident. However, funeral arrangements have been made for the young teen at St. Joseph’s Church on Thursday in Toms River.
The tragic accident that took the life of 13-year-old Blanca Azucena Hernandez Vargas is still under investigation, and police officials asks anyone who has any information regarding the fatal crash to contact South Brunswick PD Officer William Merkler or Sergeant Gary Holsten at (732) 329-4000, ext. 7472.
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