WAYNE — Township police and county investigators are trying to determine what caused a car driven by a young Park Ridge man to veer into oncoming traffic setting off a crash that resulted in his death.
Devin P. O’Keefe, 22, the son of a long-serving Paterson firefighter, was killed in the crash on Valley Road just before 9 p.m. Wednesday. Family and friends would say little about the accident on Thursday and colleagues of Timothy P. O’Keefe, the victim’s father, mostly declined to comment.
“We pride ourselves on being like a family,” Fire Chief Michael Posterino said Thursday in reaction. “We will support a member of our department and we will assist him however we can in this time of tragedy.”
Timothy O’Keefe has served as a city firefighter since 1986 and in 2008 he was cited with three colleagues for rescuing a woman who was about to be swept over the Great Falls by strong Passaic River currents. A fire officer at the Engine No. 7 station house at Grand and Quinn streets, which O’Keefe had served with at the time of the rescue, had no comment and referred questions to fire headquarters.
Devin O’Keefe was driving an Acura north on Valley Road about Wednesday night when the car crossed into the oncoming lane and crashed into a southbound BMW driven by Dominick Capone, 20, ofWoodland Park, police said in a statement.
Paramedics from St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center and members of the township first aid squad tried to revive O’Keefe, who lived in Park Ridge, but he was pronounced dead on the scene, police said.
Sumana Mitra, senior assistant Passaic County prosecutor, said there’s “no obvious signs” that either O’Keefe or Capone were using drugs or alcohol. She said police spoke with a witness who was driving a car behind Capone’s who said that O’Keefe’s car crossed the double yellow line, prompting the head-on collision. Investigators are trying to learn what caused the car to cross the lines, Mitra said.
Capone was taken to St. Joseph’s where he was treated for “non-life threatening” injuries. A woman who answered the door at his residence Thusday said he would not comment about the accident. There are no charges against Capone, Mitra said.
The crash remains under investigation by township police and the prosecutor’s office. Police ask anyone with information to call the traffic bureau at 973-633-3520.