Prosecutor releases names of the three young people who died in April 12 crash on Route 1 in South Brunswick

Charisse Nelson-Bailey loved animals, hairstyling, and spending time with her siblings and cousins.

Daniel Vida enjoyed the sounds of nature and music, good food, kind smiles, and the love of his family, friends, and caretakers.

Maria Passalaris was passionate about swimming, horseback riding, family, friends, parties, travel, and attending church.

The three young adults were in a van headed to a special needs day program in Hillsborough on the morning of April 12 when a tractor-trailer carrying an oversized load t-boned them as they were crossing Route 1 at Ridge Road in South Brunswick. The tractor-trailer and the van caught on fire. All three young people in the van died.

Nelson-Bailey, 24, who was the driver of the van, lived in West Windsor and was a staff person at the West Windsor-based nonprofit Community Options, which serves people with disabilities.

Vida, also of West Windsor, was 28. Born in Queens, New York, he was a longtime area resident who lived in the care of his parents and sister. 

Passalaris, 25 lived in Skillman. An alumna of the Eden School, she earned her high school diploma from the Lakeview School in 2020. She was an active member of the St. George Greek Orthodox Church in Hamilton, where she was an honorary member of the church choir. She was also a Special Olympics athlete, competing in track and field events for many years. 

The Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office released the crash victims’ identities yesterday.

A memorial service for Nelson Bailey was held April 19. The funeral for Passalaris was April 20. The memorial service for Vida is April 26.

Officials said the crash investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information should call South Brunswick Officer Bryan Sites at 732-329-4646 or Sergeant Jonathan Berman of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office at (732) 745-4328.