…By Judah Olanisebee for TDPel Media.
Tragic Car Crash Claims Lives of Retired Police Officer and His Children
A retired police officer and his two children tragically lost their lives in a car crash while en route to pick up his longtime fiancé.
The collision occurred when a Jeep veered into the oncoming lane, resulting in a head-on collision that claimed multiple lives.
Devastating Phone Calls and Heartbreaking News:
Andrew Benavente, accompanied by his two children, AJ (13) and Madelyn (5), was on his way to pick up his fiancé, Digna Melendez-Benavente, from work.
Just minutes before the fatal crash, Madelyn FaceTimed her mother, excitedly sharing their imminent arrival.
Andrew also called, reassuring Digna that they were on their way.
However, instead of their expected arrival, Digna received a call delivering the devastating news of the accident, which took the lives of her family.
Fatal Collision and Loss:
Bruce Cseh, 22, crossed the double yellow lines into the wrong lane of traffic, resulting in a collision with Andrew’s 2001 Ford Ranger pickup truck.
The retired Newark police officer, along with Madelyn and AJ, tragically lost their lives in the crash.
Cseh was extricated from the scene but later succumbed to internal injuries.
Investigation and Eyewitness Accounts:
Local law enforcement authorities are investigating the cause of the crash.
Eyewitnesses reported that Cseh’s Jeep had fully crossed into the oncoming lane.
Authorities plan to retrieve the Jeep’s ‘black box,’ which should provide crucial information about the moments leading up to the crash, including speed, braking, steering patterns, and airbag deployment.
Grieving the Unimaginable Loss:
Digna Benavente, devastated by the loss of her family, expressed her profound love for them.
She highlighted the preciousness of her children and the exceptional qualities of Andrew as a father.
The couple had faced challenges related to infertility but had built a 15-year-long, loving relationship.
Digna’s brother, Edwin Melendez, described Andrew as a compassionate and loving man, emphasizing the couple’s joyous gatherings and strong family bond.
Supporting the Bereaved:
Edwin launched a GoFundMe page to provide financial support for Digna’s pending funeral expenses.
Burdened by the thought of burying three loved ones simultaneously, he expressed his deep love and concern for his sister, recognizing the immense loss she is enduring.
Honoring a Young Life:
Madelyn, who was due to graduate kindergarten in a few weeks, will be laid to rest in the dress her mother had bought for the occasion.
This tragic crash marks the first fatal accident in Sussex County in 2023 and is one of the deadliest accidents to occur in the county in recent years.
The car crash that claimed the lives of a retired police officer and his two children has left a profound impact on their family and the community.
As authorities investigate the cause of the collision, loved ones mourn the unimaginable loss and come together to support the bereaved fiancé and mother during this difficult time.