After a night out, Toms River resident Edwin Triana was almost always the designated driver.
So the cruel irony of his being critically injured in an where police say a drunken driver crashed into his car has added insult to injury, his friends say.
"The worst part about it is that he never really drinks when he goes out and was always the designated driver," said Jim Teja, a friend of Triana's. "So it's really bad luck that he would be the one injured in a drunk driving accident."
Bryan Vanderburgh, 27, of Brick, has been charged with drunken driving in the May 3 crash, during which police say he ran a red light at the intersection of routes 70 and 88 and crashed his SUV into Triana's 1994 Acura Integra.
Triana, 28, was driving home with two friends, one a popular DJ in the Shore area. The group was returning home from helping Brian Unglert, 28, known professionally as DJ Encore, promote an upcoming performance.
All three occupants of Triana's car — Jackson resident Anthony G. Nieves, 25, was also a passenger — sufferred serious injures. But Triana's were the most severe. His leg had three compound fractures, his jaw and teeth were broken, his hip will need partial replacement and there are also head injuries to contend with.
Though he was making some progress, friends say, he was still on life support and in a medically-induced coma at Jersey Shore University Medical Center.
With mounting medical bills and a long road to recovery ahead, friends began organizing an effort to assist Triana's family with expenses in the days following the accident, said Teja.
A benefit has been booked at Mansion in Brick on July 1, and other events such as 50-50 raffles and gift auctions are in the planning stages.
In the mean time, family friends have set up a website that is accepting donations, 100 percent of which will go to the Triana family. As of early Friday morning, over $4,000 had been raised.
On May 4, Vanderburgh was with three counts of aggravated assault with an automobile in addition to the DWI charge and a number of traffic summonses. He remains free on $30,000 bail.
Link: Edwin Triana Benefit website.