BURRILLVILLE – Burrillville police released the name today of the 29-year-old Massachusetts man who died after he was ejected from a Jeep in an off-roading accident in the early morning hours on Sunday, Jan. 3.
Jose Zuniga of Plymouth, Mass. was taken by life flight to UMass Medical Center in Worcester following the incident, a rollover crash in a sandpit area off of Munyon Trail on land owned by the Boy Scouts of America organization.
Zuniga died from his injuries at the Massachusetts hospital.
According to police, Zuniga was the front seat passenger in a 2008 Jeep operated by 19-year-old Anthony Pollini of Rockland, Mass., when it traversed an off-road sand-based hill in the area.
Zuniga’s girlfriend, 25-year-old Laura Damore, also of Rockland, Mass., was reportedly in the back seat of the vehicle at the time.
Both Pollini and Damare were wearing seat belts at the time of the crash, and were not injured.
Zuniga, who was ejected from the vehicle as it rolled over, was not believed to have been wearing a seat belt, according to police.
Pascoag Rescue personnel were called to the scene around 12:30 a.m., and coordinated the life flight.
Zuniga, known to friends as Jay, was a military veteran, and a well-known member in local Jeep and Motorcross groups. A GoFundMe page has been set up to help his family with medical expenses.
Police on Monday also corrected an earlier press release that stated that the accident occurred in George Washington State Park, noting that the area abuts the state property by the Connecticut state line.
The investigation of the crash is reportedly still ongoing, and Burrillville Police will be reviewing the incident with the Attorney General’s Office as part of the investigative process.
“Given the location – not on a public roadway (but on) private property – and circumstances – traversing a sand hill on private property at 12:35 a.m. and rolling over of the vehicle in the process – leading to the death of the victim, we will have the AG’s office review our findings,” explained Burrillville Police Col. Stephen Lynch.
Lynch said police do not believe alcohol was a factor in the crash, and noted that there were other individuals in the area at the time of the accident.