MANCHESTER TOWNSHIP, NJ – On Saturday, January 23rd at approximately 2:10 a.m., officers from the Manchester Township Police Department responded to Route 70 near mile marker 35.5 for a report of a motor vehicle crash involving an overturned vehicle. Upon arrival, officers observed a blue, 2015, Jeep Wrangler overturned in the wooded area just off the side of the roadway.
The investigation revealed that the Jeep was traveling westbound on Route 70 when it left its lane of travel and entered the shoulder of the roadway. The vehicle continued off the roadway into the grassy area of the shoulder then made a corrective steering maneuver and re-entered the roadway. This caused the vehicle to overturn multiple times, during which, it crossed both lanes of travel before coming to rest in the wooded area adjacent to the eastbound lane of travel.
The vehicle was being operated by, 22-year-old, Margaret Palilonis, of Woolwich Township. Palilonis was ejected from her vehicle and suffered fatal injuries as a result of the crash. Route 70 was closed in both directions for several hours during the investigation and roadway cleanup.
Assisting at the scene were firefighters from both the Whiting Volunteer and the Joint Base Fire Departments, EMTs from the Manchester Township Division of Emergency Services and paramedics from Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. Also assisting were detectives from the Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigations Unit (CSI) and the Ocean County Medical Examiner’s Office.
This crash is currently under investigation but preliminary information has determined that driver fatigue was a contributing factor to the cause of the crash. Palilonis was also not seat belted at the time of the crash. The crash is currently under investigation by Ptl. Michael Anderson of the Manchester Township Police Department’s Traffic Safety Unit.