Roberto Rivera Jr. was in the van with Anada Medina and 18-year-old Stephanie Garcia just minutes before the van was hit by a driver, who witnesses say was driving the wrong way at a speed of 100 m.p.h.
The mother and daughter were killed in the crash that happened Thursday afternoon at Chapel and Russell Avenues in Merchantville.
Rivera was friends with Stephanie and had just been dropped off at his home before the crash.
"Thank God she just dropped him off. Sad to say but at least I've still got my son," said Odalis Vega, who says that what the driver did was equivalent to murder.
31-year-old Keith Johnson, who was behind the wheel of the Dodge Durango that hit the van, is in critical condition at Cooper Hospital in Camden. Gervaise Pierre, a 26-year-old female passenger who was riding with Johnson is also in critical condition.
"He needs to pay. He needs to pay for what he did because it was during school time," said Vega.
Rivera was the last one to see the mother and daughter alive. "Her sons and daughter, they didn't get to see her again. I was the last to see her," said the teen who is grieving for the loss of his friend.
Stephanie wrote for the school paper at Cherry Hill High School West. In a November 7 article, she wrote about moving to the Cherry Hill from Elizabeth over the summer and how excited and overwhelmed she was about her new life.
Police are investigating if drugs played a role in the crash.