WILDWOOD, NJ – Two men were killed as a result of careless driving at a Jersey Shore pop-up car meet in Wildwood on Saturday. According to witnesses and police, the driver of a 2003 Infinity drove through several pedestrians before attempting to flee the scene.
The driver of the vehicle, Gerald J. White, 37 of Pittsburgh, was quickly apprehended by police.
“At approximately 9:36 PM, patrol officers from the Wildwood Police Department were called to the area of Burk and Atlantic Avenues for the report of a multi-vehicle crash involving pedestrians,” the Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office said in a statement. “Upon arrival, it was learned that White, who was driving a 2003 Infinity attempted to flee the scene but was quickly apprehended.”
One victim, Lindsay Weakland, 18 years old from Carlisle, PA, was pronounced dead at the scene. A second victim, Timothy Ogden, 34 years old from Clayton, NJ, who was a passenger in a 2014 Honda Civic, was transported to the Atlantic City Medical Center but later died as a result of his injuries.”
White was charged with two counts of death by auto, two counts of assault by auto, eluding, leaving the scene of a fatal crash and violation of laws to protect public safety.
There were other less serious incidents responded to by police during the weekend popup rally in Wildwood and in the neighboring communities of Rio Grande and Seaville.
“I would first like to share my sincere condolences with the families of the two victims who were needlessly killed and those that have been injured. Their lives will be forever changed. Make no mistake that the tragic and dangerous events over the last several days in Wildwood, Rio Grande, Seaville and surrounding communities are a direct result of the organizers of a pop-up car rally self-identified as H2Oi or H2O22,” Prosecutor Jeffrey Sutherland said. “Directing hundreds if not thousands of people driving high performance vehicles to an area without any planning, staging or permitting created the chaos that led to these deaths and injuries. Anyone thinking of engaging in organizing any type of similar pop-up event is forewarned that there will be a swift and appropriate law enforcement and legal response.”
The unfortunate deaths and troubles associated with the event also were of concern to the Greater Wildwoods Tourism and Development Authority which regularly hosts events in the Wildwoods.
This weekend, the authority hosted several family-friendly events.
“Unfortunately, an unsanctioned event – a pop-up car rally – attracted participants who were at the root of the issues that occurred over the weekend. Our local police departments were given advance notice that this group would be coming into town, and they immediately took action,” the authority said in a statement today. “Additional police were mobilized from throughout the state to come to the Wildwoods to assist our local police. Heavy police presence was set up throughout the town to deter the troublemakers. Police took every precaution and even closed the bridge into town to prevent more people from coming into our resort. Unfortunately, there were a number of incidents late Saturday night that resulted in accidents, injuries, and loss of life. “