Middle Twp., NJ, Begins to Act Following Deadly H2oi Car Rally in Wildwood
One municipality in Cape May County is beginning to take action following a deadly, unsanctioned car rally this past weekend.
Officials in Middle Township say they are already participating in a multi-agency investigation and are, "exploring possible ordinances like those enacted by Ocean City, Md., following similar gatherings."
Mayor Tim Donohue said after drivers filled a parking lot at Lowe's Saturday, they adopted a proactive approach and dispatched officers to control all major parking areas over the weekend. Twelve units from the New Jersey State Police assisted with their efforts Sunday morning.
While local and state law enforcement agencies were aware of this unsanctioned event coming to our area, no one anticipated the sheer volume of cars arriving so suddenly from multiple states. We can state that due to our best efforts, there were no serious injuries or major property damage in the Township.
The criminal element within these groups, from outside our county, with absolutely zero respect for the law or for the safety and welfare of our communities, must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. The message must be loud and clear.
Weekend of chaos
Last Saturday's H2oi car rally was formerly held in Ocean City, MD, but officials there banned it because of widespread problems. This year, the unsanctioned event moved to Wildwood and chaos unfolded across much of Cape May County.
Police say as many as 500 cars descended on the Wildwoods in a matter of hours, overwhelming first responders.
The Cape May County Prosecutor's Office says 37-year-old Gerald J. White of Pittsburgh, PA, was driving an Infinity Saturday night when he crashed into a Honda Civic and then two pedestrians near Burk and Atlantic Avenues. WPVI-TV reports one of the pedestrians, 18-year-old Lindsay Weakland of Carlise, PA, died. The other victim was 34-year-old Timothy Ogden of Clayton, Gloucester County, who was a passenger in the Honda Civic.
White has been charged with two counts of second-degree death by auto, two counts of second-degree assault by auto, one count of second-degree eluding, one count of third-degree leaving the scene of an accident, and one count of third-degree violation of laws to protect public safety.
Father of four remains in intensive care
In another accident, a father of four daughters remains in intensive care after he was hit by a sports car during the event. That crash was caught in a video that was widely shared across social media.
Cape May County Prosecutor Jeffrey Sutherland said he is considering filing charges against the event organizers.
The public is reminded that charges are accusations and all persons are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.