Jackson School District Provides Support After Fatal Motor Accident Claims Two Students
Jackson–Jackson Memorial High School Principal Kevin DiEugenio described sisters Francesca, 15, and Jamie Nicholson, 17, as gifted, talented and popular students who excelled in their studies at a press conference held this afternoon at the district administration building. Both were members of the prestigious Jackson Memorial Jaguar Marching Band, Jamie the captain of the school color guard team. DiEugenio said the younger Francesca was an accomplished advance placement student and older sister Jamie attended the M.A.T.E.S. program for gifted and talented students.
Both died last night as a result of injuries sustained in a head on collision on South Hope Chapel Road. At approximately 5:17 pm, Jackson Police Officers responded to accident scene, approximately one mile south of Whitesville Road on the report in which both of the occupants were entrapped. Upon the officer’s arrival, they found a two car crash involving a 2001 Mazda MPV minivan and a 1987 Mercedes Benz 190.
The operator of the Mercedes Benz was identified as Jaime Nicholson. Ms. Nicholson was transported by Quality Medical Transport and MONOC Paramedics to Jersey Shore Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead. The female passenger of the Mercedes Benz was identified as Francesca Nicholson. She was pronounced dead at the scene by the Ocean County Medical Examiner. Both occupants of the Mercedes were extricated by the Whitesville Fire Company, assisted by the Cassville Fire Company.
This morning, officials from the district sprung into action in support of the student body at Jackson Memorial High School. DiEugenio said that the district has made grief counselors available to staff and students for the remainder of the week and if necessary would extend availability into next week. ”They will be available as needed,” he said. He said preparations started this morning at 6:30 a.m. with a team of guidance counselors, referred to as the “flight team”. Over 20 counselors were available today to meet with students.
“Unfortunately this is nothing new for Jackson School District, we’ve had incidents in the past where the flight team needed to respond,” he added.
Both students were traveling northbound on North Hope Chapel Road en route to a shore band competition and fundraiser to be hosted at Jackson Liberty High School. Upon learning of the incident, Band Director Bud McCormick decided the band would not perform at the event.
Jackson Police Sgt. Christopher Parise said the accident is still under investigation and said at this time there is no evidence to suggest texting or cell phone use, but did say that speed and wet road conditions are the focus of the investigation.
While the district survived the 2011-12 school year without a roadway fatality, it has been plagued in recent years with student driving accidents and deaths. Superintendent Tom Gialanella told reporters that tje school district maintains strict driving standards for students who drive to school, requiring a driver’s safety course completion in order to utilize the district’s parking facilities. The school district also hosts, in conjunction with the Jackson Police Department and other local agencies, annual prom season driver safety programs such as Project Graduation.
Anyone with any information regarding the crash is asked to contact P.O.Patrick Mackin at 732-928-1111 x 2406.