Gerald White H2oi car rally driver arrested in deaths of Timothy Ogden and Lindsay Weakland in Wildwood, N.J H2oi pop up car rally.
A Pittsburgh man participating in an illegal drag race was arrested after slamming a car he was racing into a car along with two pedestrians, leading to the deaths of two individuals during New Jersey‘s unsanctioned H2oi car rally over the weekend.
Gerald J. White, 37, was charged with the deaths of Timothy Ogden, 34, and Lindsay Weakland, 18, when his 2004 Infinity collided into a 2014 Honda Accord and then veered into pedestrians during Saturday night’s pop up car rally in Wildwood, N.J.
Lindsay Weakland of Carlisle, Pennsylvania, was one of the pedestrians White rammed into, according to local reports. She was pronounced dead at the scene. Unruly crowds that had gathered at the pop up car rally blocked attending ambulances getting to the critically injured woman.
Timothy Ogden of Clayton, N.J was a passenger in the Honda Civic that White crashed into. He was transported to a hospital following the collision, but later died of his injuries.
White, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, also attempted to flee the scene but was quickly apprehended by police.
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Unruly behavior and crowds
Upon his arrest, White was charged with two counts of assault by auto, eluding, leaving the scene of an accident, and violation of laws to protect public safety. He was being held in Cape May County Correctional Facility.
The pop-up car rally, organized by H20i, ensured ‘hundreds if not thousands of people driving high performance vehicles to an area without any planning, staging or permitting created the chaos that led to these deaths and injuries,’ said Cape May prosecutor Jeffrey Sutherland.
Sutherland warned that law enforcement would have ‘a swift and appropriate’ response to any future similar events.
Video showed drivers of high-powered cars, behaving recklessly, doing burnouts, racing at high speeds with no regard for traffic laws, and donuts.
The result, along with the two deaths caused by White’s driving, was masses of cars crashing into storefronts, parking meters and each other, leaving authorities with a massive cleanup.
One witness who saw the fatal crash said White’s vehicle was going ‘like 80 miles per hour’ and ‘ran four red lights.’
Olivia Galing of Rahway told NJ.com ‘we just heard a big bang, like a loud crash, and everybody started running down so we went down to the corner and we saw the car up on the curb and they had a sheet out already.’
‘There were so many people lined up on the side of the road. Kids were standing in the middle of the street on the yellow lines recording things. So it was gonna happen somebody was gonna get hurt,’ she added.
Authorities in Wildwood were aware of the gathering before it took place, and had released a statement that said ‘all visitors to the Wildwoods are welcome and are expected to obey all ordinances and laws during their visit.’
But local police were quickly outmatched by large crowds exhibiting raucous behavior, said Wildwood Mayor Pete Byron.
‘The game plan did not anticipate the amount of people that came down, which was in the thousands,’ Byron said.
‘That game plan went right out the window by the second day, when the amount of folks that were here grossly exceeded what the projected amount were by the state police,’ he continued.
The deaths have seemingly forced organizers of H2oi to reconsider their activities, as their Facebook page now shows all administrators having left the group with a cryptic message placed in the ‘about’ section.
Pop up car rally days numbered
‘H2oi isn’t ever gonna be the same,’ the updated about me section read. ‘Even if all the sideshow kids [interlopers] stop coming the laws they set in place for car modification will never go away. It’s time to move on.’
The gathering has reportedly been around since the late 1990’s.
The H2Oi gathering had previously been held in Ocean City, Maryland where chaos also broke out involving speeding cars and crashes.
Last week the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released data showing that 20,175 died in car crashes in the first half of 2022, a 0.5 percent increase from the first half of 2021.