Toms River man died after being trapped in car that flipped into marsh

Paolo Helfers-Lariva died after being trapped underwater in his car

A 28-year-old Toms River man died after the car he was driving crashed and flipped over into a marsh on Saturday, Nov. 26, although authorities said his two passengers were able to swim to safety.

On November 26, 2022 at around 2:25 a.m., Toms River Police and EMS were dispatched to the intersection of Hooper Avenue and South Shore Drive for a reported motor vehicle accident involving an entrapment.

Upon arrival, they found the overturned vehicle with the occupants trapped inside.

Two passengers were uninjured and manage to free themselves but the driver, Paolo Helfers-Lariva, 28 of Toms River, was trapped and submerged in the water, according to Toms River Police Chief Mitchell A. Little.

Several police officers who waded into the water with the assistance of Silverton EMS and Silverton Fire Department eventually freed the driver and initiated CPR immediately.

Helfers-Lariva was rushed to Community Medical Center where, after extensive efforts, he was ultimately pronounced dead.

The initial investigation revealed that the vehicle was traveling at a high rate of speed heading south on Hooper Avenue when Helfers-Lariva lost control and left the roadway, striking a pole before landing upside down in the marsh, according to Little.

Also assisting on the scene was the Ocean County Sheriff’s Department CSI Unit.

The accident remains under investigation by Toms River Traffic Safety Officer, Corporal Terry Warren.

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