'Our hearts are broken': Lauren Hewski, 18, dies in car crash hours after receiving associate's degree
MONMOUTH COUNTY, NEW JERSEY: Tragedy struck the New Jersey community when Lauren Hewski, 18, was killed in a car accident shortly after receiving her associate's degree from Brookdale Community College on Thursday. Hewski was a senior at St John Vianney High School in Holmdel and had plans to attend Syracuse University in the fall.
Hewski was a passenger in a Jeep Cherokee being driven by a 17-year-old when it overturned and collided with a utility pole on Laird Road at around 12.30 pm, Thursday afternoon, according to the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office. She was pronounced dead on the scene while the driver who hasn't been identified was injured and as per NBC 4 report suggested he was his boyfriend.
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'We had just celebrated her success'
"We had just celebrated her success as one of our youngest college graduates at Brookdale’s morning Commencement Ceremony," Brookdale Community College President David M Stout said as per Asbury Park Press. He said the school was “devastated” by Hewski's death. She was one of the youngest graduates of the Early College High School Program, a collaboration between Brookdale and St John Vianney High School in which students can obtain an associate's degree while also finishing high school.
Stout said, "Lauren was an incredibly intelligent and talented young woman who left an indelibly positive impression on all of her faculty and classmates." He added, "Our hearts are broken at the loss of this precious young life — a life so filled with promise and possibilities."
'She was on her way to meet her parents for a graduation celebration'
Hewski was set to graduate on June 8 and was on her way to meet her parents for a graduation celebration when the fatal crash happened. She had just earned an associate's degree from Brookdale Community College while still in high school and had attended a morning commencement ceremony with her parents cheering her on as per NBC4. The outlet mentioned she was supposed to be at her senior prom Friday night, along with her classmates at St John Vianney High School. But she never made it.
'She had such a bright future ahead of her'
"She had such a bright future ahead of her, to see this light just taken away from all of us all at once," said family friend Chris Locicero. "A beautiful person, a very caring young lady, intelligent. If you knew Lauren, you knew what type of person she was," Locicero said. "Her parents — unbelievable people, they didn't deserve this. No parent deserves this. As you can imagine we are all heartbroken."
Hewski was involved in student government, National Honor Society, and Key Club, among other extracurricular activities, according to her Linkedin profile. She had also won several Girl Scout accolades.