A 26-year old Manahawkin man is facing four counts of assault in connection with a crash Saturday night, after his car crossed the centerline and hit a vehicle occupied by two students from Pinelands Regional High School.

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The two girls were airlifted to Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune, where they remain listed in critical condition.

Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced Monday that Michael Pillarella, 26, was arrested and charged with two counts of aggravated assault and two counts of assault by auto. Pillarella was initially charged with reckless driving and failure to maintain his lane.

At about 9:45 pm Saturday, Jan 30, Little Egg Harbor Township Police Department responded to Radio Road and Baltusrol Court for a report of a two-vehicle crash with serious injuries.

In a Facebook press release, police said that an investigation showed that a 2017 Hyundai Elantra, driven by Pillarella, was traveling northbound on Radio Road when he failed to negotiate a curve in the roadway, crossed over the centerline, striking an oncoming 2006 Toyota XB driven by the teens, who were on their way to get frozen yogurt.

Pillarella was airlifted to AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center Trauma Center in Atlantic City for treatment of his injuries from the crash and released. A search warrant was obtained for a draw of Pillarella’s blood, and laboratory results remain pending.

Pillarella was taken into custody Monday by Little Egg Harbor Police. He was processed and transported to the Ocean County Jail, where he remains lodged pending a detention hearing.

Two counts of assault were issued for both charges -- one for each girl injured in the crash.

A Go Fund Me campaign established for one of the girls inured in the crash had reached $7,435 by Monday evening, surpassing the original goal of $3,500.


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