George Ritter and three young girls were killed in a tragic car accident in New Jersey on Saturday night. According to reports, Ritter was driving his two daughters and his 8-year-old niece home from a birthday party when he crashed into a utility pole.
The fatal crash occurred at around 9 p.m. Saturday on Gateway Boulevard in Westville, a small borough in Gloucester County. The crash claimed the lives of 33-year-old George Ritter and his two daughters, Alivia, 8, and Elsie, 9. Also in the car was Ritter’s niece Kenzie, who was also fatally wounded.
It’s not clear what happened to cause Ritter’s vehicle to swerve into the utility pole. It was reported that the family was attending a toddler’s birthday party at the Power Boat Association in Westville. Police have not confirmed whether George Ritter had been drinking or if the weather was a factor in the crash. The accident is still under investigation.
Kenzie’s father, Brian Mammoccio, is devastated by the horrific event. “I wish I could have her here next to me,” the heartbroken father admitted. “Give her one last hug because I never got to say goodbye to her.”
According to Mammoccio, his 8-year-old daughter was “caring and honest and full of life and spark.” He told other parents to “cherish every moment you have with your children because you never know when that moment can be taken away.” Mammoccio said that unfortunately, “I only got 8 years with mine.”
Since the tragic New Jersey crash, members of the Westville community have taken to social media to show their support and commemorate those who died. “Kenzie was loved by many at her elementary school,” one user commented on Twitter. “The teachers in Woodbury Heights adored her and will miss her beautiful smile and kind heart.”
One user, who said that “Kenzie was [their] best friend,” shared on Twitter that “I never got to say goodbye.” The outpouring of support for the three little girls was overwhelming, not only on social media but in person.
The crash site was transformed by flowers and toys Sunday. Members of the tight-knit Westville community visited the scene to pay their respects to the dead and show support for the families who mourn their loss. Catherine Leone explained that she went to the crash site, “just to let the family know we were thinking of them. This is a horrific, horrific accident.”
A GoFundMe page was created for George Ritter and the three young girls. The founder of the page, the Westville Power Boat Association, hosted the toddler’s birthday party on Saturday.
“Westville Power Boat Association has lost a very loved member and 3 beautiful angels as well,” it said in the GoFundMe post. “We want to give George and the girls, Elsie, Alivia, and Kenzie, the memorial they deserve and to honor their memory and say our last goodbyes.”
According to the post, “they have touched the lives of so many and it’s our turn to show our appreciation for George and the girls one last time. We are currently asking for donations to help cover the costs of the funeral. Any donation is extremely appreciated.”
Since its creation on Sunday, the GoFundMe page has raised over $21,000. Many donors are neighbors, friends, and other members of the nearby communities. “Our daily prayers are with you,” wrote Maryann Reed alongside her donation. “God bless the families, rescue workers, and all those offering support, kind words, and donations during this difficult time.”