A high-speed crash at a World War I memorial killed a 20-year-old college athlete in Cresskill, authorities said.
Christian “Onin” Gloria, of Queens, New York, died when his Infiniti Q50 sedan crashed into part of the Camp Merritt Memorial Monument at Knickerbocker Road and Madison Avenue and burst into flames around 4:30 a.m. Saturday.
Borough police and family members who came to the scene identified Gloria, a tennis player at ASA College in Manhattan, as the victim.
The monument is located in the center of a traffic circle on the border of Dumont and Cresskill. Its 66-foot obelisk was designed after the Washington Monument, and its inscription lists 578 people who died from the influenza epidemic at Camp Merritt, a military base that once occupied two Bergen County towns during World War I.
“This was a single vehicle fatal accident and the cause and mitigating circumstances are still under investigation,” the Cresskill Police Department said over social media Saturday evening.
Relatives have started a GoFundMe for Gloria’s funeral costs.
“We never thought we would be saying goodbye to such a wonderful young man, but we should not let this accident define who Onin was as a person,” a relative wrote in the GoFundMe page’s description. “When people ask about Onin, the first thing that comes to mind is the accomplished young man he had become and his amazing tennis talents and his love for making music.”
The Cresskill chief of police and the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office have not yet responded to requests for further comments Sunday morning.