UPDATE: EHT woman identified as victim of fatal car crash on Garden State Parkway in Egg Harbor Township

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EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP – A 38-year-old Egg Harbor Township woman has been identified as the victim of the fiery two-car crash in the northbound lanes of the Garden State Parkway near mile marker 37 Tuesday morning, July 23, according to the New Jersey State Police. 

Dawn Gonzalez, who lived in the Bargaintown section of Egg Harbor Township with her family, was pronounced dead at AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center in Atlantic City. 

The 7:44 a.m. accident involved a Mercedes, driven by Thomas Zerbo, 22, of Ocean City, which according to the preliminary police investigation, hit Gonzalez's Honda Civic from behind after she stopped in the center lane of the Parkway, causing it to burst into flames.

Gonzalez was pulled out of the car by passers-by, who attempted to perform CPR on her. Despite the rescue efforts at the scene, she was pronounced dead at AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center in Atlantic City from multiple injuries, police said.

As a precaution, the driver of the Mercedes was taken to AtlanticCare's Mainland campus in Galloway with non-life-threatening injuries, police said.

Crystal Erney, a neighbor along Old Zion Road and a close friend of Gonzalez, said her friend was a role model of a mother. 

"Dawn was a true spirit. Saw the positive side of everything," Erney said, noting that she was a mother to two boys, Daniel and an older stepson.  "She was her children’s advocate and loved them to pieces. She never missed an opportunity to be with her son Daniel: making his life happy and complete made her smile.

“She had beauty inside beyond comprehension,” Erney said. “I never saw her without a smile and she definitely had a great sense of humor. She loved to see movies, go to the boardwalk and loved to cook for her family. I am so sad."

Kimberlee Catino, president of the Slaybaugh Parents Club, said Gonzalez and her husband Jesus were very active at Daniel 's school.

"They were always at meetings and volunteering at our events," Catino said. "She was always sweet, enthusiastic and a genuine pleasure to be around."


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