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Driver in New Jersey car rally crash that killed 2 receives prison sentence

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A driver charged in separate crashes that killed two people during a pop-up car rally in southern New Jersey has been sentenced to 25 years in state prison.

Gerald White, 38, of New Castle, Delaware, pleaded guilty in December to aggravated manslaughter and aggravated assault charges in the September 2022 deaths of Timothy Ogden, 34, of Clayton, and pedestrian Lindsay Weakland, 18, of Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

The plea agreement called for a 25-year sentence, but White’s attorney sought a 15-year term during Thursday’s sentencing hearing. Superior Court Judge J. Christopher Gibson, however, cited White’s extensive criminal history in imposing the full term.

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White, earlier listed as living in Pittsburgh, was fleeing another crash in Wildwood when he struck a car and two pedestrians. Authorities said his blood alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit. Officials say he is subject to the No Early Release Act on all counts and will have to serve 85% of his sentence before he will be eligible for parole.

“I pray every day,” White said during sentencing. “I wasn’t out there trying to hurt people.”

Police across multiple communities struggled to control the chaotic situation. According to news reports, videos on social media showed modified vehicles revving engines and speeding off to cheers from crowds, and people hanging out of cars as drivers spun in circles, as well as burnouts, drifting and crashes.

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Participants say such events give enthusiasts a chance to gather and check out cars, but officials in New Jersey reported writing hundreds of tickets and summonses. Storefronts were damaged, and traffic meters were downed. Other areas such as Ocean City, Maryland, have also reported problems during such events.

“The tragic deaths of Lindsay Weakland and Timothy Ogden are heartbreaking losses for their friends, loved ones and family that can never be overcome,” Cape May County Prosecutor Jeffrey Sutherland said in a statement. He warned “anyone considering engaging in an illegal, unsanctioned car rally” that such behavior would not be tolerated.

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