WILDWOOD N.J. (WHTM) – A Carlisle woman was identified as one of two people killed during a “pop-up car rally” in New Jersey.
According to the Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office, 18-year-old Lindsay Weakland was struck and killed by the vehicle in Wildwood on Saturday evening. Officials allege some of the group organizers directed a large number of high-performance vehicles to the area without planning.
In a media release, Prosecutor Jeffrey Sutherland said officers from the Wildwood Police Department were called to the area of Burk and Atlantic Avenues for a multi-vehicle crash involving pedestrians and two vehicles.
The alleged driver, identified by officials as Gerald White of Pittsburgh, allegedly struck a Honda Civic before hitting two pedestrians. White allegedly attempted to flee in a 2003 Infinity before being apprehended.
A passenger in the Civic, identified as 34-year-old Timothy Ogden, 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, one count of Eluding, one count of Leaving the Scene of an Accident, and one count of Violation of Laws to Protect Public Safety.
White was processed and lodged in the Cape May County Correctional Facility pending Court proceedings
Prosecutor Sutherland says the Wildwood accident was a “direct result of the organizers of a pop-up car rally self-identified as H2Oi or H2O22” that has also appeared in several other communities around the country.
A Facebook group with approximately 8,600 members named “H2oi wildwood 2022” featured pictures of sportscars and a group discussion with over 400 comments discussing the group’s future. The page added over 2,600 new members in the last week.
We have heard of tragic deaths around this country based on stray bullets from illegal shootings hitting innocent bystanders and children; this is no different. Driving a motor vehicle at a high speed in a populated area is essentially the same as discharging a firearm. The results are the same, death and injury. Further, the size and weight of a motor vehicle also results in the destruction of private and publicCape May County Prosecutor Jeffrey Sutherland
property. I would like to commend the members of the Cape May County Prosecutors Office, Wildwood Police Department, Middle Township Police Department, New Jersey State Police, Atlantic City Police Department and all of our local law enforcement partners who responded thru mutual aid to gain control of the situation as well as the fire and medical first responders who provided aid to the victims.”
The Wildwood Board of Commissioners said in a social media post that the mayor had sought additional support from the governor, and state police and other police departments from as far away as Atlantic City were responding to the large, unplanned event.
“Every available police officer and fire patrol was called in, and despite being grossly outmanned, are doing a great job as dispatch works extremely hard to keep up with the calls,” the board said, asking people to stay indoors.
Hundreds also showed up at a Middle Township parking lot Friday night, Mayor Tim Donahue said in a statement, NJ.com reported. “There is much to still be learned about the reckless chaos that has descended about our streets this weekend,” he said, vowing “a thorough investigation” and criminal charges.
“We pray for the families of those who were senselessly killed and maimed in the chaos overnight in Wildwood,” he said. “The scenes are horrifying.”
Wildwood and North Wildwood police earlier vowed to have extra personnel on duty in light of reports of multiple “pop-up meets” over the weekend. “We hope everyone has a good time at the Fall Classic Car Show in Wildwood and the Irish Fall Festival here but we will not tolerate the nonsense,” North Wildwood Police Chief John Stevenson said.
Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office at (609) 465-1135, or the information can be reported anonymously through the Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office Anonymous TIP System by visiting cmcpo.tips from any computer, tablet, or smart phone.
Information can also be reported to the Cape May County Sheriff’s Tip Line at cmcsheriff.net and click on anonymous tip.
The Associated Press contributed to this report