News Department

4 dead in fiery head-on crash in Sussex County

ANDOVER TOWNSHIP, NJ (Sussex County) – Four people were killed in a fiery head-on crash Friday in Sussex County, according to Andover Township Police Chief Eric Danielson.

It happened at 4:00 p.m. on Newton-Sparta Road east of Limecrest Road near the Sparta Township line in Andover Township, Danielson said.

A 2021 Jeep Rubicon, driven by Bruce Cseh, 22, of Blairstown Township, was traveling westbound on Newton-Sparta Road when the vehicle crossed over the double yellow lines into the eastbound lane of travel striking a 2001 Ford Ranger pickup head-on, Danielson said.

As a result of the crash, the Ford Ranger pickup had become engulfed in flames trapping Andrew Benavente, 36, Andrew Benavente Jr., 13, and Madelyn Benavente, 5, all from Newton inside the vehicle. First responders utilized fire extinguishers and attempted life saving measures but the flames had become too intense. All three were pronounced dead at the scene, Danielson said.

The occupant in the Jeep was also entrapped and first responders were able to use a personal vehicle with a chain to pull the Jeep away from the Ford Ranger pickup, Danielson said.

Andover Township and Andover Borough Fire Departments and Sparta Fire Department extinguished the fire and utilized the Jaws of Life to extricate the driver of the Jeep, Danielson said.

Cseh was flown to Morristown Medical Center and was later pronounced dead, Danielson said.

Newton-Sparta Road was detoured for approximately five and half hours during the investigation.

The crash remains under investigation by the Andover Township Police Department and being assisted by the Sussex County Prosecutor’s Office and the Sussex County Sheriff’s Department Crash Team.

Andover Township Fire Department, Andover Borough Fire Department, Sparta Township Fire Department, Sparta Township EMS, Sparta Township Police Department, NJ State Police, Atlantic EMS, St Claire’s Paramedics, Newton EMS, Newton Police Department and Sussex County Fire Marshal assisted at the scene.

A GoFundMe page was started to provide financial support to help Digna Melendez-Benavente, Andrew’s wife and the loving mother of AJ and Madelyn and the Benavente and Melendez families, with the overwhelming expenses stemming from this tragedy. The funds are desperately needed to cover funeral costs, medical bills, and other immediate expenses.

The GoFundMe has set a goal of $60,000 and as of Monday morning, it has raised more than $60,000. If you would like to donate to help out, click here.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include the names of the four people killed in the crash.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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