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Toms River Woman, 77, Dies After Route 571 Crash

Frances Garcia was passenger in Saturday collision still under investigation

A 77 year-old female passenger died Sunday from injuries she sustained in a major collision on Bay Avenue and Contempo Drive Saturday. The accident remains under investigation.

Paulene Garcia, 19 of Toms River, was driving south on Contempo and turning eastbound onto Bay Avenue when a 2007 Hyundai driving eastbound on Bay Avenue struck Garcia’s 1997 Mazda, said Chief Michael Mastronardy.

The driver of the Hyundai, Alexander Long, 21, of Toms River was transported to Jersey Shore University Hospital. He had no passengers in his vehicle, police said.

Paulene Garcia was driving with two relatives: Diodor Garcia, 78, who was transported to along with Paulene Garcia. Toms River Police EMS provided emergency transport.

The second passenger, Frances Garcia, 77, of Toms River, was transported to Jersey Shore University Hospital in critical condition and later died from her injuries Sunday afternoon, police said.

Toms River Police Traffic Safety Officer Robert Westfall is investigating.

Sand from the accident cleanup was still visible at the intersection of the crash, as was shattered automotive glass and shards of vehicle parts along the curb and shoulder of the county road, also known as Route 571.

The stretch of road is near the intersection with Cedar Grove Road, with Contempo and its adjoining streets ending in culdesacs. The intersection is before an eastbound curve in the road heading toward Vaughn Avenue, and the road was briefly closed Saturday as emergency responders tended to the accident.

Frances Garcia’s death is the traffic fatality in Toms River this year.

KC October 04, 2011 at 08:48 PM
The roads, traffic patterns and drivers in Ocean County are horrendous!
Not Afraid to Rant October 05, 2011 at 01:57 AM
How fast was the person driving down Bay?? I bet it was waaaaaay over the speed limit. Of course when does anyone drive safely. why should they.
Mattie October 10, 2011 at 12:04 PM
Driving too fast or not, it sounds like Ms Garcia misjudged his distance or didn't see the car coming at all and pulled out onto Bay in front of him. They were both heading east... so she had to pull out right in front of him to get hit like that (not from behind). Accidents happen, it's a shame someone died. RIP. And the guilt these drivers will carry is awful...
Minette Oakley October 28, 2011 at 02:34 AM
It sounded like you witness the event Mattie for you to say that Ms. Garcia misjudged or did nopt see the car coming...and that both drivers ( the one who hit and the one that got hit) were both travelling east? Is this correct? Yeah. It is a shame someone died...and got seriously injured people as well. The drivers will remember the unfortunate event. But over speeding on Bay Avenue is a real thing...and many can attest to this, you know. and KC and the ranter are both right.
Mattie October 28, 2011 at 11:08 AM
From the article: [quote] Garcia, 19 of Toms River, was driving south on Contempo and turning eastbound onto Bay Avenue when a 2007 Hyundai driving eastbound on Bay Avenue struck Garcia’s 1997 Mazda, said Toms River Police Chief Michael Mastronardy. [end quote] I just made a logical assumption from the actual words of the police. One driver turning ONTO Bay Ave, going east, one driver already ON Bay Ave going east....Driver on Bay hits driver turning onto Bay. Yes, one could have been speeding, but like I said, speeding or not wouldn't matter when someone pulls out in front of you -- there is rarely time to stop or swerve to avoid hitting. The speed limit on that section of Bay is what? 40? I don't know for sure. But why assume someone is speeding? Especially the driver who had the right-of-way? I'd rather assume it was just one of those misjudgements, a mistake, an "accident". Accidents do happen. There doesn't always need to be a horrible villain involved.
Mattie October 28, 2011 at 11:19 AM
BTW, just so you know... I grew up right on Bay Ave, between Vaughn and Ross Streets. I know the road. In the 60's that was a narrow, "country road" with little traffic, but the speed limit was 50. That's right, 50, with houses and kids living right along Bay Ave. We saw our share of horrible accidents along Bay over the years. But now in most areas it's 2 lanes each way, and I think the speed limit is 35 -40 in most areas with a ton of red lights controlling traffic.... what more can be done? Accidents happen. Speed limits don't prevent accidents, they just lower the chances of a really really BAD accident.
Joe P November 03, 2011 at 10:38 AM
This state (this county in particular) has the worst drivers of the 4 that I've lived in.
Mattie November 03, 2011 at 12:56 PM
I think I would agree with you, Joe. In Ocean county I think the overwhelming amount of Seniors, who insist on staying on the roads, adds to the usual amount of crappy drivers- teens or otherwise.

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