She was on her way to a "celebratory lunch" with her parents at the time of the crash.
A small town in New Jersey is mourning the loss of a young student who aspired to "make a difference." According to NBC New York, Lauren Hewski, 18, was killed in a car accident on Thursday, May 11, afternoon as she was on her route to meet her parents for a graduation party. Hewski was a senior in high school, but as part of her high school's early college academy program, she had graduated with an associate's degree from Brookdale Community College. According to a GoFundMe, the collision happened "an hour" after she earned her degree as she was on her route to a "celebratory lunch" with her parents.
Soon after 12:30 p.m. on Thursday the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office confirmed in a statement to PEOPLE that officers had responded to a complaint of an accident beside a road in Colts Neck. Police discovered a "17-year-old male driver of an overturned Jeep Cherokee, as well as a passenger, an 18-year-old female," according to the statement. The driver, who the news outlet described as Hewski's boyfriend, was taken to a nearby hospital to be treated for his injuries, the statement added. The female passenger was pronounced dead at the site. The prosecutor's office stated that the incident's causes are still being looked at.
The PDA Family extends our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Lauren Hewski. She was a tremendous student, athlete, and person. Lauren, you will be greatly missed. May you rest in peace 🤍 pic.twitter.com/hZPaHfPWcx— PDA (@PDAGirlsSoccer) May 13, 2023
St. John Vianney High School confirmed the senior's death in a social media post, on Friday. It read, "The Saint John Vianney High School community has suffered a great loss. On Thursday, May 11, 2023, Lauren Hewski, a gifted student and athlete in our Senior Class, passed away from injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident. We ask for prayers and privacy for the family at this time. We also ask for prayers for our school community," The school was expecting her to graduate in June.
David M. Stout, president of Brookdale Community College, provided the Asbury Park Press with a statement that defined Hewski as "an incredibly intelligent and talented young woman." He told the outlet, "We had just celebrated her success as one of our youngest college graduates at Brookdale's morning Commencement Ceremony." He continued, "Our hearts are broken at the loss of this precious young life — a life so filled with promise and possibilities." According to the GoFundMe page, the Hewski family will establish a charity named Lauren's Light to "keep Lauren's light shining bright and allow other women to follow in her footsteps."
"Lauren was a bright light, a passionate advocate, a fierce competitor, and a kind and genuine friend with a wicked sense of humor.” The student "was getting ready to start a new chapter in life: she planned to attend Syracuse University to study political science and public policy at the renowned Maxwell School. Lauren wasn't foolish enough to think she could change the world, but she certainly wanted to make a difference. Lauren's story does not end here," the organizer wrote in memory of the brilliant student who is no more.
Cover Image Source: GoFundMe