Lawrence High senior dies in Route 1 crash

Daijah McKithen, an 18-year-old senior at Lawrence High School, died after her sedan and a dump truck collided on Route 1 just after noon on Thursday, police said.

The crash happened at the intersection of Route 1 and Franklin Corner Road at about 12:17 p.m.

McKithen was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the dump truck, 28-year-old Suleyman Durdu of Bordentown, sustained non-life-threatening injuries.

Lawrence Superintendent of Schools Ross Kasun sent an email to parents and staff on Thursday afternoon. Counselors are on call until 8 p.m. Thursday and all day Friday to support students and staff. McKithen would have graduated on June 22.

“This tragic event has left us all deeply saddened and our thoughts and condolences go out to Daijah’s family and friends during this difficult time,” Kasun wrote. “Many students and staff will be affected by this news.”

Details of the crash are under investigation. Witnesses are asked to call Lawrence Police Officer Thomas Everist at 609-896-1111 or email, or call Lawrence Detective Paulina Way at 609-844-7133 or email

A witness told New Jersey 101.5 that McKithen turned left instead of using a jughandle to try to leave Route 1. The light turned green and the dump truck then hit the sedan. The dump truck then crashed into the Shell Gas Station on Route 1 South.

Route 1 southbound was closed for more than four hours.

The Lawrence Township Police Department was assisted by the Lawrence Township Fire Department & Emergency Medical Services, Capital Health System Advanced Life Support, and Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office.


  1. That’s been a very dangerous and frustrating corner. Unfortunately accidents happen at that intersection all the time. This is very sad.

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