Preliminary toxicology tests from the Ocean County Medical Examiner's Office have confirmed the presence of oxycodone and metabolized cocaine in all three victims when their car slammed into the Pine Beach Elementary School, Ocean County Prosecutor Marlene Lynch Ford said.
However, the presence of the drugs found in all three does not mean that the use of illegal drugs was a factor in the , she said.
“The metabolized cocaine levels, I am advised by experts at the lab, is consistent with cocaine use two or three days prior to the accident," Ford said. "We cannot therefore conclude that use of that illegal drug was a factor in this accident. Test results also did not detect the presence of alcohol in the systems of any of the victims."
Toxicology tests done on 20-year-old — the driver of the 2011 Hyundai Accent — indicated the presence of a narcotic painkiller at therapeutic levels, Ford said.
"Based upon the detected levels of these substances in his system, we cannot conclude that Matthew Budesa operated the vehicle while under the influence of narcotics at the time of the accident," she said.
The car struck the east wall of the Pine Beach Elementary School with such force that it ripped a six-by-six hole in the school's media center and crushed the engine section of the car.
Budesa, the son of Pine Beach Councilman Robert Budesa, , 20, of Beachwood, and , 21, of Toms River, all died at the scene of multiple traumatic injuries, authorities have said.
Ford noted that some news stories had suggested the three were using heroin or that heroin was found in the car.
"The lab results indicate no evidence of heroin in any of the samples submitted from any of the victims," she said. "Evidence recovered from the vehicle showed small amounts of oxycodone, but no evidence of heroin."
Authorities believe the car barreled down Merion Avenue sometime in the early morning darkness on Feb. 3 at a high rate of speed and crashed head-on into the elementary school's brick wall. The roadway leads directly into the east parking lot at the school.
There were no skid marks at the scene and none of the car's occupants were wearing seat belts, Pine Beach Police Chief John M. Sgro has said..
"It was a very high rate of speed," Sgro said this afternoon.
The accident happened some time after 4:30 a.m., when a Pine Beach police officer had made a routine check of the school grounds. It was called in at 6:48 a.m, when an employee arriving for work at the school discovered the car, Sgro has said.
Ford said yesterday her statements were based on evidence and tests that have been conducted so far.
"In the event any additional information is developed that would change these conclusions, I will so advise the public and the media,” Ford said.
The accident is under investigation by the county Vehicular Homicide Unit and the Fatal Accident Support Team.
“We will never know, unfortunately, what was the state of mind of the driver and passengers of this vehicle," Ford said. "It would not be productive for me to speculate about the motives, intentions or actions of these three young people so tragically lost."