TOMS RIVER — A child died Tuesday morning when the driver of a minivan went through a stop sign and into a tree.

Toms River police spokeswoman Jillian Messina said the driver, Baila Gross, 38 of Lakewood, was traveling east on Whitty Road and didn't stop at the intersection with North Bay Avenue around 9:15 a.m.

One of the four occupants of the vehicle, a minor, was taken to Community Medical Center and later died.

Messina did not disclose the relationship between the passengers and the driver.

The Lakewood Scoop reported the child was a 9-year-old girl named Leah.

Messina said there was no indication of driver impairment and the cause of the crash remained under investigation. All four occupants were wearing seat belts at the time of the crash.

A photo showed all the airbags in the minivan deployed by the impact.

Mini van involved in a crash at Whitty Rd. and North Bay Avenue in Toms River 12/28/21
Mini van involved in a crash at Whitty Rd. and North Bay Avenue in Toms River 12/28/21 (OCSN)

Another stop sign tragedy

It's at the third incident in Toms River involving a driver who went through a stop sign or red light in December.

Township police said Crystal Calpin, 29, of Toms River, died after speeding through a red light on Route 37 and hitting another vehicle, critically injuring its occupants, on Dec. 6.

Anna Zybura, 37, of Keansburg, suffered serious head trauma after running a stop sign on Garfield Avenue and getting hit by a municipal garbage truck at the intersection with Windsor Avenue.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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