A New Jersey student was killed in a horrific car accident while on her way home from her college commencement.
Lauren Hewski, an 18-year-old senior at St. John Vianney High School in Holmdel, NJ, who was also taking credits at nearby Brookdale Community College as part of an advanced program, died in a car crash Thursday in Colts Neck, NJ. She had just been awarded her associate’s degree.
Hewski was the passenger in a Jeep Cherokee driven by a 17-year-old boy when it hit a utility pole and flipped on Laird Road at about 12:30 p.m., authorities said. She died at the scene.
The driver was not identified due to his age. What caused the Jeep to veer off the road is part of an ongoing investigation.
The Monmouth County Prosecutor said the driver was injured and taken to a local hospital.
Brookdale President David Stout said the college was “devastated” by the tragedy.
Stout said Hewski was one of the youngest graduates of the program that allowed students to earn an associate degree while simultaneously finishing high school.
She was set to graduate from her high school on June 3.
“We had just celebrated her success as one of our youngest college graduates at Brookdale’s morning commencement ceremony,” Stout said, according to the Asbury Park Press. “Lauren was an incredibly intelligent and talented young woman who left an indelibly positive impression on all of her faculty and classmates.”
A college-wide moment of silence was held in honor of Hewski Friday morning, Stout added.
St. John Vianney Principal Margaret Kane called Hewski “a gifted student and athlete” and said the community “suffered a great loss.”
Hewski was co-captain of the varsity soccer team, a National Honor Society member, and former president of the school’s student government, according to her LinkedIn page.