Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer has released the identities of the victims involved in the tragic motor vehicle crash that took place in Lakewood Township on October 7, 2023. The victims have been identified as 23-year-old Jayla Ortiz of Lakewood, 24-year-old Ceasia Jefferson of Neptune Township, and a 17-year-old male from Lanoka Harbor.
According to the investigation conducted by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit-Vehicular Homicide Squad and the Lakewood Township Police Department, the crash occurred at approximately 2:20 a.m. on New Hampshire Avenue and Cedar Bridge Avenue. Jayla Ortiz was operating a 2009 Honda Accord, with passengers Mylani Theibault, 18, of Lakewood, Alexis Holloway, 23, of Berkeley Township, Ceasia Jefferson, and the 17-year-old male from Lanoka Harbor, in the rear passenger seat. The Honda Accord was traveling eastbound on Cedar Bridge Avenue when Ortiz failed to stop at a red traffic signal, colliding with a 2008 Dodge Truck. The impact caused the Dodge Truck to roll over and split in two, while the Honda Accord veered off the roadway and struck a metal traffic signal pole, also breaking into two parts.
The operator of the Dodge Truck, 56-year-old Mathew Draheim of Lakewood, sustained minor injuries and was transported to Jersey Shore University Medical Center (JSUMC) in Neptune for treatment. Unfortunately, both Jayla Ortiz and Ceasia Jefferson were pronounced dead at the scene. Mylani Theibault, Alexis Holloway, and the 17-year-old male were also transported to JSUMC for treatment. Tragically, the 17-year-old male succumbed to his injuries at the hospital. Currently, Mylani Theibault is listed in stable condition, while Alexis Holloway remains in critical condition.
Prosecutor Billhimer expressed his condolences, stating, “This is every parent’s worst nightmare. Our thoughts and prayers are with these young men and women, their families, and their friends.”
The investigation into the crash is ongoing, led by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit-Vehicular Homicide Squad and the Lakewood Township Police Department.
Prosecutor Billhimer extended his gratitude to the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit- Vehicular Homicide Squad, Lakewood Township Police Department, and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigation Unit for their collaborative efforts in the investigation.