HAMILTON TOWNSHIP — A 16-year-old Oakcrest High School student died Wednesday in an ATV crash in the Mizpah section of the township, school officials confirmed Thursday.
The student was not identified by name, but police said in a news release Wednesday night he was from the Richland section of Buena Vista Township, which borders Mizpah.
Oakcrest Principal James Reina said grief counseling was available for students and staff Thursday. The Greater Egg Harbor Regional High School District returned from spring break Wednesday.
“We are grieving the loss of one of our students as an entire school community, and our hearts go out to that student’s family and friends,” Reina said in a statement.
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He said that outside counseling information was also posted on the district website.
Officers responding to Railroad Boulevard at 5:29 p.m. Wednesday found a Kawasaki ATV operated by the teen left the road and struck a tree, causing the vehicle to overturn. The driver was transported to Inspira Medical Center Vineland, where he died. He was wearing a helmet at the time of the crash, police said.
Mizpah resident Al Lenig was driving home from work with his grandson when he passed by another car pulled over on the side of the road, which he said was unusual in the rural area. Lenig stopped, too, and stayed with the teen until police arrived.
“Instinct is you have to stop and help, and I just did what I could insofar as keeping him stable,” he said. “I kept telling him, ‘Hang on, hang on, help is on the way.’”
Lenig said Railroad Boulevard is a popular off-road destination for ATV riders. He has had an empty sense in his stomach since learning the teen died.
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“It hurt, it definitely hurt,” he said.
Lenig said he hopes the teen’s family knows the teen was not alone and was being comforted after the crash.
AtlantiCare Medics and the Township of Hamilton Rescue Squad assisted at the scene.
The crash remains under investigation. Anyone with information can call police at 609-625-2700.