Officials say a pop-up car rally over the weekend in southern New Jersey led to multiple crashes and the deaths of at least two people, the AP reports. Wildwood Mayor Pete Byron told NJ Advance Media on Sunday that there were a series of car crashes related to the “unsanctioned” car meet-up event, NJ.com reported. WCAU-TV reported damage to storefronts and knocked-over traffic meters, seen Sunday morning during cleanup efforts, and said Cape May prosecutors reported one person was in custody in connection with a fatal crash. Later reports identified that person as Gerald J. White, 37, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, who allegedly hit another car and two pedestrians with his car. One of the pedestrians and the passenger of the second car were both killed. There were also reportedly injuries related to a golf cart crash; the severity was not clear.
Officials had earlier issued warnings about what they called an unsanctioned car rally separate from the Fall Classic Car Show taking place in Wildwood. Participants say the event gives enthusiasts a chance to gather and check out cars, but officials in other areas such as Ocean City, Maryland, have reported problems stemming from the event in previous years. Videos on social media showed modified vehicles revving engines and speeding off to cheers from crowds gathered on the streets, NJ.com reported. WCAU-TV said social media posts showed people hanging out of cars as drivers spun in circles, and also showed burnouts, drifting, and crashes. NJ Advance Media reported three damaged vehicles at the scene of one accident where a car struck a building.
“The cars were outrageous, speeding up and down the streets, the noise was unbelievable,” Angel Fioravanti told the station. “It was scary because I saw people trying to walk off the sidewalk onto the street, and cars were … weaving in and out of the traffic, revving their engines, the noise was atrocious. It really was.” The Wildwood Board of Commissioners said in a social media post that the mayor had sought additional support from the governor, and state police and other police departments from as far away as Atlantic City were responding. “Every available police officer and fire patrol was called in, and despite being grossly outmanned, are doing a great job as dispatch works extremely hard to keep up with the calls," the board said, asking people to stay indoors.
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