LAKEWOOD – On June 27, Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato released the official police video showing the circumstances surrounding the double fatal crash that occurred in Lakewood earlier this month.
On June 7, Rynell Bennett, 29 of Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, and a 16-year-old passenger from Gloucester County died following a collision with a tree at Massachusetts Avenue and Cross Street.
Bennett allegedly lost control of his 2016 Ford Focus and the car was then engulfed with flames. When police arrived on the scene, they removed the men from the vehicle, however both died on the scene.
The released footage shows Toms River Police Officer Kyle Lamar’s vehicle as he attempts to stop Bennet on Whitesville Road just north of Route 70. Bennet was not wearing a seatbelt, driving with a suspended vehicle registration, and wanted for allegedly being involved in a shooting in Lakewood the morning of June 7, according to officials.
A vehicle chase ensued. The video shows Bennet evade a vehicle stop by quickly speeding off through an Exxon parking lot and onto Route 70 eastbound. Lamar followed suit but soon stopped when it became clear the public’s safety was at risk, after Bennet ran the red light at Massachusetts Avenue and Route 70.
The video shows Lamar turn off his vehicle lights and stop at the intersection, before slowly continuing through the intersection after seeing emergency lights up ahead on the road.
Once on the scene Lamar exited the vehicle and approached the crashed vehicle, engulfed in flames, and noted that the passengers were trapped.
With the assistance of Officer Thomas Elwood, the officers extinguish the flames and remove the passengers from the vehicle. The video shows both officers having difficulty removing the passengers, trying to extricate them through the passenger and rear windows.
The remainder of the 10 minute footage shows the officers removing the passengers as well as onlookers on the roadside.
Officers Lamar and Elwood were taken to Community Medical Center and treated for smoke inhalation. Both were released, officials stated.
The video stated that both men died as a result of crash injuries and that the vehicle was traveling over 112 mph with an impact speed of 85 mph, according to pre-crash data.