It was a year that seemed to just fly on by didn't it? In 2019, there were dozens of big time stories our Townsquare Media Jersey Shore News Team reported on this year affecting the residents of Monmouth and Ocean Counties, some sad, some scary, some shocking, some happy and some with a desire for more answers that are not yet available.

Our News and Digital Teams worked together to compile the Top-10 Most Viewed News Stories and Videos that you the viewer/listener clicked on the most in 2019 from our Townsquare Media Jersey Shore stations of 92.7-WOBM, Beach Radio 1160/1310-AM, 94.3ThePoint and 105.7TheHawk in 2019.

*The accumulated numbers from the articles and videos are subject to rise in total views.

Here are the Top-10 most read news articles at the Jersey Shore in 2019:

Sitting, waiting or even slowly moving in traffic is the thing nightmares are made of but even with a heads-up it can still be frustrating. In September, the New Jersey Department of Transportation announced the beginning of a bridge replacement project taking place on Route 34 in Wall Township which spans 5.5-miles worth of road in Monmouth County.

Work is not done yet either, as the DOT said that the project will be constructed in stages and is expected to be completed by the fall of 2020.

Shawn C. Lee of Toms River (Toms River Intermediate East photo 2006/Ocean County Jail 2019)
Shawn C. Lee of Toms River (Toms River Intermediate East photo 2006/Ocean County Jail 2019)

In October, A former teacher with Toms River Regional Schools was arrested and charged with having sexual intercourse with a 16-year old in September of 2007, while he was a Social Studies teacher at Toms River Intermediate East.

No comment was given provided by Toms River Regional Schools other than that Shawn Lee has not worked for the district in any school since 2013.

Vehicle involved with a crash on the southbound Garden State Parkway in Toms River
Vehicle involved with a crash on the southbound Garden State Parkway in Toms River (Ocean County Scanner News)

A tragic accident on the Garden State Parkway in Ocean County on the morning of March 7 caused one death and backed up traffic for miles.

A person was killed in a crash that witnesses say may have been caused by a ladder that fell on the roadway.

The car reportedly drove into the rear of a dump truck that had stopped short. The car was then hit from behind, sandwiching the car and crushing it.

Monmouth County officials say Anthony Distaulo, of Jackson, led a large-scale heroin distribution ring in the Bayshore region. (Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office)
Monmouth County officials say Anthony Distaulo, of Jackson, led a large-scale heroin distribution ring in the Bayshore region. (Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office)

Monmouth County Prosecutors wrapped up a 16-month investigation on April 15 dubbed "Operation Finished Business" where 32 people were charged from their roles in a large scale heroin distribution ring in the Bayshore Region.

Investigators say members of this heroin trafficking network sold mass quantities of fentanyl-laced heroin daily to people across the Jersey Shore.

There were over 20,000 bags of heroin a month sold on the streets worth a value of between $200,000.00 and $400,000.00.

The network was run from multiple homes and apartments across Monmouth and Ocean Counties, while heroin supply was routinely replenished with trips to Newark.

Courtesy of Larson Family
Courtesy of Larson Family

In August it was learned that an Ocean County police department and one of its officers contributed to serious injuries a motorist sustained that ultimately lead to their death in 2018, according to a lawsuit filed against the officer and department.

Jackson Police Officers were responding to the scene of a motor vehicle accident involving a motorcycle resulting in a fatality on July 5, 2018.

Anthony Griffin, 22, of Jackson had failed to stop at the red light at the intersection of South Prospect Road and Brewers Bridge Road but then tried eluding Jackson officer Cherrick Daniels.

A high speed pursuit ensued and Griffin strike another car causing a massive collision where Griffin died.

The other driver, Eric Larson, passed away a couple days later.

Ocean County Prosecutors found Griffin at fault for the accident.

The lawsuit filed on behalf of the Larson family accused Officer Daniels of contributing to the crash due to his pursuit methods.

Mugshots via Ocean County Jail (Graphic by Mark Anthony)
Mugshots via Ocean County Jail (Graphic by Mark Anthony)

In November, there were nine people arrested by Brick Township Police who wrapped up an investigation looking into a number of crimes taking place in this area of town.

The area around 116 Brick Boulevard where a Wawa is located was becoming a hotbed for crime and Brick Police thwarted it from continuing any further.

Marvin Sander
Marvin Sander (NJ State Police)

On June 18, New Jersey State Police issued an alert as they searched for a sex offender who was believed to be somewhere across the Jersey Shore.

This story put the Jersey Shore on alert as the article kept getting shared in hopes someone would recognize the suspect and report the information to police.

Marvin Sander of Shrewsbury Township in Monmouth County was eventually arrested for failing to register as a sex offender.

Shore Fire Grille Owner Timothy Kohlheim. (Shore Fire Grille)
Shore Fire Grille Owner Timothy Kohlheim. (Shore Fire Grille)

On the morning of August 16 our news team learned of the tragic passing of a beloved Jersey Shore restaurant owner who died in a car accident the night before in Stafford Township.

Police said that The owner of Shore Fire Grille, in Manahawkin and Surf City, Timothy Kohlheim, 36, was heading west on Route 72 near Marsha Drive in a 2015 Ford van when he collided into the back of a crash attenuator vehicle preparing to set up for a left lane closure due to construction.

Kohlheim was pronounced dead at the scene.

He leaves behind his wife Samantha and their two young daughters.

Every seat in the New Jersey State Assembly was up for election in 2019 and there were a couple of highly contested and close municipal races including the race for the Toms River mayoral seat that had voters eager to learn who won government and school election races in their town and county.

The 2019 general elections are done and we now know who has won and will be representing your town, county and community in the state of New Jersey.

Car into a building on Hooper Avenue in Toms River
Car into a building on Hooper Avenue in Toms River (Vin Ebenau, Townsquare Media NJ)

It was the biggest story of the year in terms of page views but could certainly have that title for the significance and the rarity of the type of car crash it was on Hooper Avenue in Toms  River on November 10 and one that gained national attention.

A Porsche Boxster traveling that went airborne into the second floor of an office building that Sunday morning — leaving two people dead — was removed by early that afternoon.

The driver, Braden DeMartin, 22 of Toms River and his passenger, Daniel Foley, 23, of Toms River were heading north on Hooper Avenue toward Brick when DeMartin lost control of the car and hit the center median, continuing north and striking an embankment, according to Toms River police spokeswoman Jillian Messina.

That caused the vehicle to go airborne into the building, which it smashed through, leaving a gaping hole.

The driver of a Porsche that went airborne into the second floor of a brick-face building killing the driver and his passenger was probably "joyriding," his girlfriend reportedly said.

To date, the accident is still under investigation by the Toms River Police Department.

The reason there are three articles tied for the Number 1 spot on our countdown is that in addition to the original post we had two followups shortly after the crash that contributed further details and background information on the crash itself but also what led up to the tragedy.

Here are the Top-10 News Report Videos of 2019:

10. The History Behind Delicious Orchards. (471 video views).

Mike McDonald, who along with his parents and siblings are the owners of Delicious Orchards in Colts Neck, discusses the history of this Jersey Shore landmark.

9. What it takes to be a firefighter in Toms River. (473 video views).

Silverton Volunteer Fire Company Chief Bob Sinnott discusses what it takes to be a firefighter and put out fires in Ocean County.

8. Townsquare Jersey Shore News Report. (494 video views).

The weekly Jersey Shore news video surpassed 490 video views.

7. Monmouth County Sheriff Shaun Golden responds to letter from NJAG on Section 287 g. (498 video views).

Monmouth County Sheriff Shaun Golden responds to letter from New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal regarding Section 287(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act and threatening action against Sheriff Golden for allegedly violating it.

6. What Happens Inside An E.R.? (609 video views).

Dr. Brad Pulver, E.R. Medical Director at Ocean Medical Center in Brick discusses when your should go to the E.R. vs an Urgent Care and brings to light the challenges of what goes on in an E.R.

5. 3 D Drinking, Drugging and Driving Event at OC Mall. (762 video views).

The Ocean County Health Department held an event at the Ocean County Mall to spread awareness about the dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs.

4. The Route 37-166 Road Project Is Done! (859 video views).

NJ DOT Spokesman Steve Schapiro discusses the Route 37-166 road safety improvement project and business owners Ryan Blumenthal at Corinne Jewelers, Larry Schuster at Schusters Toms River Car Wash and Ann Gauthier at Shut Up and Eat! talk about how the roadwork affected them.

3. What It Takes To Be A Police Officer In Manchester. (2,173 video views).

Manchester Township Police Chief Lisa Parker discusses what's required of the men and women looking to join the force and the state of police in today's society.

2. Exclusive WOBM News Interview with Monmouth County Sheriff Shaun Golden and Monmouth County Correctional Institution Inmate Joe Arroyo inside the MCCI in Freehold to discuss what life in jail is really like and how bail reform is causing a major problem in rehabilitation efforts. (2,266 video views in the first of seven videos inside the jail; the second video in this series had 2,066 views; the third video had 822 views; the fourth video had 275 views; the fifth video had 292 views; the sixth video had 349 views; the seventh video had 158 views).

1. The Demolition of The Red Carpet Inn in downtown Toms River. (2,743 video views).

The crime ridden hotel that is the Red Carpet Inn was being knocked to the ground as demolition began and the redevelopment of downtown Toms River moved forward.

Thank you for reading, watching and following our news team this year! We look forward to continue providing the news you need in Monmouth-Ocean Counties in 2020.

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