An "American Idol" hopeful from New Jersey died and five friends were injured when their SUV flipped in a high-speed crash on Interstate 95 in Pennsylvania Sunday as they returned from the reality show audition, police said.
The friends were on their way back to their New Jersey homes after attending "American Idol" auditions held at Temple University's Liacouras Center in Philadelphia when the driver lost control after passing another vehicle on the shoulder at a high rate of speed, police say a preliminary investigation reveals.
Their SUV moved from the right northbound shoulder across both northbound lanes and into the center grass median of I-95, where it flipped and rolled over several times, according to the police report. Three of the six people in the car were ejected from the vehicle upon impact; by the time authorities arrived after getting the 6:45 p.m. call, all six were lying in various spots outside the SUV.
The woman who auditioned for "American Idol" earlier that day, Natasha Bellott, of Bloomfield, and a friend, 19-year-old Leslie McCoy, of Montclair, were taken to Saint Mary's Medical Center by ambulance. Bellott was pronounced dead at the hospital; she had just turned 20 years old.
Police said Bellott still had her "American Idol" ticket in her pocket.
"Her idol was Justin Bieber. She loved him," Yesenia Nieves, who said she met Bellott two years ago through friends, told NBC 4 New York on Twitter. "She was such a loving person -- always had a smile on her face. You would never have a dull moment with her."
McCoy was admitted for a head injury and fractured ribs. The other four people in the car were taken to Capital Health Hospital in Trenton for injuries that were not believed to be life threatening. Those victims include Jacob Gorski, 18, of East Orange, Carol Delpolito, 24, of Bloomfield, a 16-year-old girl from Bloomfield and a 17-year-old girl from Bloomfield, police say.
NBC10 in Philadelphia has reached out to "Idol" for comment.