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As Community Mourns, Services Planned for Ocean County Accident Victim

More than 400 Msgr. Donovan students attend Mass on Monday

A memorial to Francis Duddy, placed at the area near where he was killed in a fatal car accident. (Photo: Daniel Nee)
A memorial to Francis Duddy, placed at the area near where he was killed in a fatal car accident. (Photo: Daniel Nee)
The Toms River community – especially those with ties to Monsignor Donovan High School – continued mourning the loss of recent graduate Francis Duddy on Monday, two days after the car accident which claimed his life.

Duddy, 19, is also the son of the school's head football coach, Dan Duddy, and one of several siblings who have attended the school.

"They’re really important to the fabric of the history of our school, and it makes it even more difficult," said Dr. Edward Gere, Monsignor Donovan principal, of the Duddy family.

Over 400 students attended a Mass that was held during a lunch period on Monday, he said.

"That was great, and we really thanked them for that," he said.

Meanwhile, arrangements were being made to honor Duddy's life.

Gere said a wake would be held from 4 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at St. Joseph's Church on Hooper Avenue, with a funeral to be held Thursday at 3 p.m.

Fr. Scott Shaffer, the St. Joseph's pastor, offered the church to the Duddy family so they could have a larger space for the wake, said Gere.

"Any loss is difficult, but it’s amplified by the fact that Dan’s a faculty member here," Gere said.

No charges have been filed in the fatal car crash, which occurred Saturday morning at 1:36 a.m., said Al Della Fave, spokesman for the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office.

According to police, Duddy, of Holly Street in Toms River, was a passenger in a 2006 Honda Civic which was being driven by Connor Hanifin, 18, of Hemlock Hill Drive.

The vehicle, police spokesman Ralph Stocco said, went through a stop sign and crossed over Vaughn Avenue before it continued a short distance on Yellowbank Road. It then went over the curb at the end of the cul-de-sac and entered a wooded area, striking trees.

Duddy was pronounced dead at the scene, Stocco said. Hanifin was taken to Jersey Shore University Medical Center where he was last said to be in stable condition.

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