Photo: WWW.NJSP.ORG / Courtesy
Andrew Benavente, a retired Newark police officer, was killed along with his two children in one of the most dramatic crashes so far this year in New Jersey.
Benavente (36) was riding with his 13-year-old son Andrew Jr. and 5-year-old daughter Madelyn in a 2001 Ford Ranger pickup around 4 p.m. Friday on Newton-Sparta Road when they were hit head on for a 2021 Jeep Rubicon that crossed into the wrong lane the police said.
The other 22-year-old driver, Bruce Cseh, was also killed. The four victims were trapped in the two vehicles, while Benavente’s truck caught fire.
While waiting for the fire department to arrive, several first responders used fire extinguishers to no avail. One of them used a personal vehicle and a chain to pull the Jeep away from the burning van.
Benavente and his children were pronounced dead at the scene. Firefighters pulled Cseh out of the Jeep. The young Blairstown resident was taken to Morristown Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. The circumstances that led to the dramatic accident remain under investigation, the station noted. NJ 101.5 FM.
Benavente, who retired from the Newark Police Department, was from a family of police officers. His brother, sister, and brother-in-law are all police officers. His father is also a retired officer, the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 12 said. He is survived by his hispanic wife and his mother, whose brother Edwin Meléndez launched a GoFundMe campaign To help her.
“Digna Meléndez Benavente now faces the daunting task of saying goodbye to her loving husband and two children,” says the campaign page. “As a grieving mother and a widow, she will need all the support and assistance we can offer.”
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