A dual-enrollment student from New Jersey who had just received her associate’s degree from an early college program was killed in an car crash an hour after the ceremony.
Hewski, who attended St. John’s Vianney High School in Holmdel, was one of the youngest graduates of an early college high school program at Brookdale Community College in Middletown, according to the Asbury Park Press. The program allows students to earn an associate degree through the community college while simultaneously finishing high school.
The Monmouth County Prosecutors Office said a Jeep Cherokee driven by a 17-year-old male crashed into a utility pole and flipped over just after 12 p.m., WNBC reported. Hewski, who was in the passenger’s seat, was killed. The crash took place “an hour” after she earned her degree, People reported.
The driver was taken to an area hospital for treatment of injuries, the Press reported. The prosecutor’s office has not identified the driver because of his age, according to the newspaper.
Brookdale Community College President David M. Stout told the newspaper that the school was “devastated” after hearing about Hewski’s death.
“We had just celebrated her success as one of our youngest college graduates at Brookdale’s morning Commencement Ceremony,” Stout said. “Lauren was an incredibly intelligent and talented young woman who left an indelibly positive impression on all of her faculty and classmates.”
Hewski was planning to attend Syracuse University to study political science and public policy, according to her obituary.
“To everyone who knew her, Lauren was a bright light, a passionate advocate, a fierce competitor, and a kind and genuine friend with a wicked sense of humor,” Hewski’s obituary read.
Stout said a moment of silence was held across the Brookdale campus for Hewski on Friday at 8:30 a.m. EDT, the Press reported.
St. John Vianney Principal Margaret Kane said Hewski was a gifted student who was also a member of the school’s soccer team, according to the newspaper. Her death was a “great loss,” to the school.
“We ask for prayers and privacy for the family at this time,” Kane said. “We also ask for prayers for our school community.”
Chris Locicero, a family friend, said that Hewski “had such a bright future ahead of her.”
“A beautiful person, very caring young lady, intelligent. If you knew Lauren, you knew what type of person she was,” Locicero told WNBC. “Her parents — unbelievable people, they didn’t deserve this. No parent deserves this. As you can imagine, we are all heartbroken.”
The prosecutor’s office said the cause of the crash is still under investigation, according to the television station.
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